Can Telemedicine Contribute to Smoking Prevention or not?


by Jeffrey Buckley

Updated: May 23, 2017

smoking prevention by the telemedicine

There are a number of ways that healthcare facilities use to help people quit smoking. In fact, it’s amazing just how many ways there are. However, they are all successful to a certain extent.

A recent Dallas, TX based study has discovered that telemedicine can be a highly promising practice. Its convenience and effectiveness proved appealing for healthcare practitioners. This way, they are able to help people in their battle against substance abuse. It has also brought some new aspects to the table regarding this practice.

What Makes Telemedicine Effective in Reducing Smoking?

What exactly is the core value of telemedicine that has inspired Dallas researches to focus on it? Telemedicine is a new concept that has rapidly developed in the age of the internet. They base it on providing patients with treatments via the internet.

This is in contrast to the traditional face to face education and treatment sessions. It is because, they are not always available to everyone. For example, it might be hard for the sick in a remote village to get access to a doctor in a big city. However, they can still have access to some internet services.

While we have no power over some factors that can cause lung cancer, smoking is surely a preventable one. Sadly, tobacco suppliers are aiming for rural, lower income areas, especially in the South of the United States. As a result, proper healthcare and education on smoking are crucial in the battle against it. Given this fact, telemedicine holds potential to be a tool that will secure a healthy lifestyle for everyone. As authors of the study find “Telemedicine adds extended reach to healthcare partnerships and aids dissemination of effective approaches to otherwise underserved populations”.

Tele-nicotine Course Helps in Quitting Smoking

Having this in mind, researchers, led by Maria C. Grabowski, MSN, RN, OCN at ONS examined 10 men in a shelter. He provided them with a 4 weeks long tele-nicotine course. The goal of the program was for the practitioners to familiarize themselves with the video and audio equipment. Then, they can monitor how these devices may contribute to making personal connection with the patients. As for examinees, the goal was providing them with proper facts that will convince them to quit smoking.

As a result, they may become permanent residents of the shelter. Moreover, researchers didn’t miss the opportunity to mention how, besides health, smoking affects their financial situation as well.

They “met” once a week for an one hour session. After the course, half of the participants had quit or reduced smoking. Meanwhile, the staff became fully comfortable with technology.  In fact, many different services have already been introduced across the state to spark responsible behavior. They included media campaigns, toll numbers people can call, and health websites. This is according to Texas Department of State Health Services and their Tobacco Prevention and Control program.

However, they will require more time and more comprehensive and organized studies for any conclusive results. Until then, here is some food for thought. Will telemedicine ever replace face-to-face treatments of tobacco or any other substance addiction?

Published: May 23, 2017

Jeffrey Buckley

I was a smoker for over 25 years. In this time I also earned my medical degree with a specialization in addiction treatment and counseling. That period has led me to vaping, my interest started around 2011. I’m fighting the tide of hysteria and dis-information around vaping that emanates from various fronts legislative, cultural and scientific. Having scientific councils support, I’m happy to contribute my thoughts, articles, and expertise.


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