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April 15, 2004

Gov. Blagojevich releases grant for smoking cessation training program
Program to outline smoking cessation education curriculum Expert panel to be convened to create training program

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  –  Governor Rod Blagojevich released today $125,000 through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) to develop an educational program on adult smoking cessation strategies and to train primary care physicians on how to utilize the strategies to help their patients quit smoking.
“These dollars will go towards encouraging Illinoisans to make healthier life choices, “said Governor Blagojevich.  “Thousands of adults struggle each day with the battle of quitting smoking; this money will help many of those adults win that battle.”
Frequent advice from health professionals to patients to quit smoking has proven successful in reducing tobacco usage by as much as 30 percent.  This program will be designed to encourage physicians to discuss with patients the best ways to undertake a smoking cessation commitment.
“During routine health-care visits, physicians have an opportunity to discuss smoking habits with their patients,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.  “Encouraging their patients to quit and offering them support in their attempts to do so can be effective.  These brief counseling interventions, which can last as little as a few minutes, can have a positive impact on adult tobacco cessation rates.”
The IAFP will work in collaboration with the Illinois Society of Internal Medicine to develop the medical education curriculum.  They will then train primary care medical professionals to request information from adult patients about their tobacco use, apply medical treatments and social interventions to increase cessation attempts and to maintain support of cessation strategies in subsequent patient visits. 
Funding for the initiative comes from a $75,000 grant to the Department from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $50,000 from an agreement the state reached with tobacco companies to settle a lawsuit to recover tobacco-related disease treatment costs.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the nation and is known to cause chronic lung disease, coronary heart disease and stroke, as well as cancer of the lung, larynx, esophagus, mouth and bladder.
The adult smoking cessation project will be patterned after the Department’s 2002 project, Adolescent Tobacco Use-Prevention and Cessation:  Strategies for Primary Care Providers.  For the youth project, the IAFP in conjunction with the Illinois Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a needs assessment, convened an expert panel and developed a training program for health care providers of adolescents.  These same steps will be taken to develop an effective program for adults.           


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