Tobacco Screening and Treatment during Outpatient Urology Office Visits in the United States

Ari P. Bernstein, Marc A. Bjurlin, Scott E. Sherman, Danil V. Makarov, Erin Rogers, Richard S. Matulewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose:Tobacco use is a causative or exacerbating risk factor for benign and malignant urological disease. However, it is not well known how often urologists screen for tobacco use and provide tobacco cessation treatment at the population level. We sought to evaluate how often urologists see patients for tobacco-related diagnoses in the outpatient setting and how often these visits include tobacco use screening and treatment.Materials and Methods:We used the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey public use files for the years 2014-2016 to identify all outpatient urology visits with adults 18 years old or older. Clinic visit reasons were categorized according to diagnoses associated with the encounter: all urological diagnoses, a tobacco-related urological condition or a urological cancer. Our primary outcome was the percentage of visits during which tobacco screening was reported. Secondary outcomes included reported delivery of cessation counseling and provision of cessation pharmacotherapy.Results:We identified 4,625 unique urological outpatient encounters, representing a population-weighted estimate of 63.9 million visits over 3 years. Approximately a third of all urology visits were for a tobacco-related urological diagnosis and 15% were for urological cancers. An estimated 1.1 million visits over 3 years were with patients who identified as current tobacco users. Of all visits, 70% included tobacco screening. However, only 7% of visits with current smokers included counseling and only 3% of patients were prescribed medications. No differences in screening and treatment were observed between visit types.Conclusions:Urologists regularly see patients for tobacco-related conditions and frequently, although not universally, screen patients for tobacco. However, urologists rarely offer counseling or cessation treatment. These findings may represent missed opportunities to decrease the morbidity associated with tobacco use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1755-1761
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • smoking cessation
  • tobacco use
  • urinary bladder neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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