Newswise — The World Health Organization estimates that 1 billion people will die from tobacco-related illnesses this century. Unfortunately, most healthcare providers don’t treat tobacco dependence. In fact, only 21 percent of smokers seeing a healthcare provider receive any form of behavioral counseling and only 8 percent receive any form of cessation medication.

Often, low rates of tobacco treatment are blamed on tobacco users’ lack of motivation to quit. However, current treatment protocols may be unnecessarily requiring smokers to express readiness to quit before providing cessation treatment (an opt-in approach). For other health conditions – diabetes, hypertension, asthma and even substance abuse – treatment guidelines direct healthcare providers to identify the health condition and initiate evidence-based treatment (an opt-out approach). Research is being conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center to compare the effect of an opt-in versus an opt-out approach. Changing the way we treat tobacco dependence could increase acceptance of effective treatment among users and significantly increase cessation rates. 

On May 31, 1-2 p.m. (CDT), The University of Kansas Cancer Center and Children’s Mercy Hospital will co-host an online discussion, via Twitter, about changing the way healthcare providers treat tobacco dependence. We’ll also discuss the importance of providing evidence-based care to all tobacco users by adopting an opt-out approach to cessation care. The chat will be moderated by medical professionals from The University of Kansas Cancer Center and Children’s Mercy Hospital, including:


  • Delwyn Catley, PhD, clinical health psychologist and Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Mercy, and an affiliate faculty member of The University of Kansas Cancer Center 


The goal of the chat is to discuss changing the treatment default for tobacco dependence. We also will address barriers and concerns, and dispel misconceptions. We encourage patients, cancer survivors, doctors, nurses and other health professionals to participate in the discussion.

How to join

Join the conversation and help amplify this important treatment for tobacco dependence information by retweeting and posing/answering questions. Even if you’re not comfortable with Twitter, you can easily follow the conversation by searching for the hashtag, #NoTobaccoChat, on Twitter.

If you are new to Twitter chats, you can use the following steps to sign up and participate.

  • Create a Twitter account at
  • Search for the @KUcancercenter and @ChildrensMercy Twitter accounts and click “Follow.”
  • Sign in to your Twitter account on Wednesday, May 31st at 1:00 p.m. CST and search #NoTobaccoChat in Twitter’s search bar.
  • Click “More options” and then “Save this search” to follow the ongoing dialogue.
  • To participate in the Twitter chat, tweet your comment or question and include the hashtag #NoTobaccoChat. Then, click refresh to view your tweet.


To receive notifications about the upcoming chat via Twitter or to submit a question, please email your Twitter handle or question to [email protected].