Assessment of Smokeless Tobacco Use in the History and Physical Examination by Primary Healthcare Providers Use in the history and Physical Examination by Primary Healthcare Providers

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Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners




Data sources: Copies of blank history and physical forms used in offices of primary care providers in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee were examined to identify items related specifically to tobacco use.

Conclusions: Twenty-nine providers returned history and physical forms, which revealed 24% showed no item related to tobacco use. Others included questions related to smoking, but only 7% mentioned any sort of smokeless tobacco use.

Implications for practice: Although a few studies have suggested the use of smokeless tobacco to be less harmful than smoking, all forms of smokeless tobacco are recognized carcinogens and dangerous for health. It is not sufficient to simply ask patients about smoking behaviors. Primary care providers, especially nurse practitioners, have the unique opportunity to assess use of smokeless tobacco and to offer treatment and counsel to help patients to stop the behavior.