Surgeon General Says ‘Shocking’ Portion of People Aren’t Told to Stop Smoking

WASHINGTON — The United States surgeon general warned on Thursday that despite the well-known lethal dangers of cigarettes, too many smokers are not routinely advised by their doctors to quit.

In a new report, the surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, urged smokers to use a range of cessation methods that have been proven effective — and cautioned that e-cigarettes have not.

“Forty percent of smokers don’t get advised to quit,” Dr. Adams said in an interview. “That was a shocking statistic to me, and it’s a little embarrassing as a health professional.”

He was referring to data collected in a 2015 national health survey that was included in the 700-page report released on Thursday. “Four out of every nine adult cigarette smokers who saw a health professional during the past year did not receive advice to quit,” the report noted.

Vulnerable populations in particular are not getting the help they need to stop smoking, it said, and recommended that doctors and public health officials devote more attention to offering smoking cessation assistance to gay and transgender people, Native Americans, people with mental illness diagnoses and several other groups with high smoking rates.

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