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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Kicking the Habit

Published November 18, 2010 1:37 PM by Danielle Bullen

Earlier this week, the FDA released a proposition called the Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements. This ruling will require one of nine graphic color imagines on cigarette packs and ads, depicting the harmful physical effects of smoking. On cigarette packs, the graphic must take up at least 50% of the box and on print ads, 20% of the total space. All packs and advertisements would also include a warning phrase, like "Tobacco smoke can harm your children" or "Cigarettes cause cancer."   To see the complete set of images visit

The American Council on Drug Education estimates that 47 million Americans are smokers, or about 23% of adults. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, says that smoking-related illnesses and 2nd-hand smoke-related illnesses are the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S, 1,000 per day.

Just 20 minutes after you quit, your blood pressure drops. At 24 hours, your risk of a heart attack fails. At 3 months, lung function improves. 

Physical therapy is physically taxing without the added stress smoking puts on the body. As a PT, do you feel it is your place to encourage patients who smoke to quit?  Do you think these slogans and graphics will incite smokers to stop?  Or they will be better at convincing people to never pick up the habit? Do you think we've become so desensitized to graphic images that these won't be shocking?


Dannielle - Here in Alabama, where smoking pecentage is one of the highest in the nation, I am constantly fighting the uphill battle with my patients. I try to take the approach of "What do you want me to do? You are damaging yourself and asking me to make you better.". I think a very high tax (like $5/pack) would deter smoking more than carton messages, but I support the messages. I think we have to be tougher with young smokers in a different way as they don't fully grasp their mortality. Great blog. Keep it up - AL D.

Al DiMicco, Orthopedic - Director of PT, Orthopedic Specialists of Alabama November 18, 2010 7:09 PM
Bessemer AL

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November 18, 2010 3:56 PM

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