Oncologists play key role in fight against smoking

Sep 13, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Oncologists should consider it their professional duty to set a healthy example by not smoking and by advocating against tobacco use locally and internationally, two Emory faculty members argue in an article scheduled for publication in the September issue of The Oncologist.

Authors Rebecca Pentz, PhD, professor of and in research ethics at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Carla Berg, PhD, assistant professor of behavioral sciences and health education at the Rollins School of Public Health, note that tobacco related deaths kill more people around the world than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. While some countries have made significant strides in steering people away from tobacco use in recent decades, progress has been uneven.

Despite overwhelming evidence for the harmful health effects of tobacco, a large percentage of physicians in many countries smoke. For example, some surveys indicate that more than 40 percent of male Chinese physicians are smokers.

Pentz and Berg urge their colleagues to take measures such as:

• Advocating for insurance coverage for treatments aimed at helping people quit smoking, such as counseling and medication
• Supporting legislation promoting smoke-free environments.

They also call for the United States and other nations to ratify the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The FCTC outlines a program of regulating tobacco use including: increasing tobacco taxation, banning tobacco advertising, prohibiting smoking in public places and requiring warnings on tobacco packaging. It was adopted by the United Nations in 2003 and the Bush administration signed the treaty; however, it has not been sent to the U.S. Senate for ratification.

Pentz and Berg conclude: “Oncologists may have considered activism against to be laudable but optional, to be accomplished by the Good Samaritans among them. We argue that quitting or abstaining from smoking, advocating for smoke-free environments in one’s own community, and actively supporting one’s international colleagues to do the same are duties, grounded in both common sense and in the ethics of professionalism.”

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

WHO: Smoking kills 5 million every year

Dec 09, 2009

(AP) -- Tobacco use kills at least 5 million people every year, a figure that could rise if countries don't take stronger measures to combat smoking, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Growing evidence of marijuana smoke's potential dangers

Aug 05, 2009

In a finding that challenges the increasingly popular belief that smoking marijuana is less harmful to health than smoking tobacco, researchers in Canada are reporting that smoking marijuana, like smoking ...

Does Smokeless Tobacco Help Smokers Quit Cigarettes?

Jan 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Some smokers say they just can’t quit cigarettes. But previous studies of smokers in Sweden have suggested that many have done just that, by switching to smokeless tobacco. While not without health risks, ...

Researches link tobacco industry's marketing to youth smoking

Aug 21, 2008

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) released a report, co-edited by University of Minnesota professor Barbara Loken, that reaches the government's strongest conclusion to date that tobacco marketing and depictions of smoking ...

Retail tobacco displays make it tougher to quit

Feb 07, 2008

Tobacco advertising displays may be undermining smokers' attempts to give up and tempting former smokers to resume smoking, research by Professor of Marketing Janet Hoek has found.

States urged to continue anti-tobacco ads

Jul 06, 2005

Teenagers who are exposed to state-sponsored anti-tobacco advertising are less likely to smoke, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...