Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Do you smoke?

Me: "Do you smoke cigarettes?"

Patient: "No."

Me: "Did you ever smoke in the past?"

Patient: "Yeah, I quit a week ago when I was admitted to the hospital.  Before that, I smoked a pack a day."

I don't get that.  If a doctor asks you if you're a smoker and you only quit a few days ago, you are still a smoker.  Why do people do that?


  1. While I clearly understand your point, I'm gonna be the devil's advocate here: because they are proud to be "smoke-free". Because, to them *at that moment*, they assume they won't relapse, they are proud to have been able to make it this far. They are *technically* not smokers, it's just been a very short while though but to them, they are non-smokers. What is clinically relevant to a Dr. vs what is correct/relevant to a patient is, as you clearly know, quite different. They're not stupid, they just don't have the same reality as you...

    1. Agree....Dr's don't get it...if I quit drinking a week ago, I am a non drinker

  2. true story: Me: do you smoke, drink alcohol or consume any non-prescribed drugs?
    Pt: I used to smoke, but I quit.
    Me: how long ago?
    Pt: What time is it?
    Quitting smoking is easy, I've done it a thousand times

  3. It gets stranger. People who frequently light up cigars or pipes but do not consciously inhale the smoke either don't consider themselves smokers or will play the Clinton card (I do smoke but I don't inhale).

    One of my favorites:
    Do you drink?
    Not since the bottle ran dry.

  4. For the same reason that they answer the question "do you have high blood pressure?" with "no, I take pills."