Tobacco Screening and Treatment of Patients With a Psychiatric Diagnosis, 2012–2015

Published:September 27, 2019DOI:


      Smoking disproportionately affects individuals with psychiatric diagnoses. Providers can play a role in reducing tobacco-related morbidity among people with a psychiatric diagnosis by routinely screening and treating all patients for tobacco use. This study seeks to identify rates of tobacco screening, counseling, and medication orders during outpatient visits with adults who have a psychiatric diagnosis.


      Data from the 2012–2015 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were examined to calculate the proportion of visits with people who have a psychiatric diagnosis that included tobacco screening, counseling, or smoking-cessation medications. Logistic regression was used to identify patient and visit factors associated with tobacco screening and treatment. All analyses were conducted in 2018.


      Seventy-two percent of visits included tobacco screening, 23% of visits with tobacco users included cessation counseling, and 4% of visits with tobacco users included a cessation medication order. Visits were more likely to include tobacco screening if they were for a nonpsychiatric condition, were >30 minutes, or were with a primary care physician (p<0.05). Visits were less likely to include tobacco screening if they were with a black, non-Hispanic patient or patient with Medicaid (p<0.05). Visits were more likely to include cessation counseling if they were for a nonpsychiatric condition (p<0.05), and were less likely to include counseling if they were with a Hispanic or self-pay patient (p<0.05).


      There is still room for improvement in providing equitable treatment for people with psychiatric conditions for smoking, particularly in nonprimary settings.
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