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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Lung age improves quit rate

The British Medical Journal has published the results of a study that assess the impact on smoking cessation of quoting estimated lung age following spirometry.

The study included 561 patients over the age of 35. All patients were given a lung function assessment. The intervention group were informed of their estimated lung age while the control group were given the measured forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1).

The primary outcome was confirmed smoking cessation at 12 months after recruitment. Secondary outcomes included were changing in consumption of cigarettes and new diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Quit rates were 7.2% higher in the intervention group. (p=0.005, 95% confidence interval 2.2% - 12.1%). The paper also estimates the cost of the intervention at £280 although this does not include prescription treatments.

Action: Clinicians should quote lung age to patients who are smokers and undergo spirometric assessment. The broader use of spirometry as a smoking cessation aid needs careful consideration before it becomes routine practice.

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