The effect of written advice on preoperative cigarette consumption.
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Two groups, each of 100 smokers, were compared in terms of reduction in cigarette consumption in the 5 days prior to elective surgery. One group was admitted to hospital in the routine way and information on preoperative cigarette consumption obtained by questioning each patient after recovery from anaesthesia. In the second group, a letter strongly advising the patient to stop smoking for 5 days preoperatively was enclosed with the admission letter. A proforma to record the daily cigarette consumption was also enclosed. By the day before surgery the mean cigarette consumption had fallen to 52% in Group I and 16% in Group II and 14 and 46 patients respectively had then stopped smoking completely. The differences were highly significant (P less than 0.001).