American Heart Association’s professional certification aims to advance tobacco cessation treatment

The Tobacco Endgame -; the path to ending tobacco use and nicotine addiction in the U.S. -; is within sight, but there has been a sharp increase in electronic cigarette use among high school students, from 1.5% in 2011 to about 27.4% in 2019.

The American Heart Association, the world's leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is collaborating with the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD) to change that. New individual certification as a Certified Professional by the American Heart Association – Tobacco Treatment is available to health care professionals committed to helping their patients live longer, healthier lives by stopping the use of tobacco.

The new tobacco treatment individual certification is available through the Association's Professional Education Hub™. The certification aims to standardize training for health care providers in tobacco cessation care delivery, increasing skills and competencies to improve patient outcomes.

Tobacco use and second-hand smoke take a devastating toll on our nation each year. This new certification gives individual health care providers the opportunity to show their commitment to improving their patients' quality and length of life through evidence-based tobacco cessation therapies."

Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., FAHA, deputy chief science officer of the American Heart Association and co-director of the Association's Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science

Cigarette smoking, the most common form of tobacco use, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. More than 16 million Americans live with at least one disease caused by smoking. The American Heart Association has identified smoking status as one of the key measures for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health, Life's Essential 8®, that people can improve through lifestyle changes. Use of inhaled nicotine delivery products, which includes traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping, causes about a third of all deaths from heart disease.

"Reaching the Tobacco Endgame requires a coordinated strategy with long-standing science-based tobacco control strategies, including evidence-based tobacco cessation therapies," said Thomas J. Payne, PhD, FSBM, NCTTP, member of the ATTUD board of directors and past president, and consultant for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. "This certification will help health care professionals advance the field of tobacco treatment and reduce the nation's dependence on tobacco."

Ochsner Health, based in Louisiana, provided financial support to develop this educational offering.

"Living the legacy of our founder Dr. Alton Ochsner, the first physician to discover the link between tobacco use and lung cancer, Ochsner Health was proud to support development of this educational offering to create more tobacco cessation specialists," said Leonardo Seoane, M.D., FACP, executive vice president and chief academic officer for Ochsner Health. "As a community partner, we continue to provide smoking cessations services and support needed to help create healthier communities, in Louisiana and across the country."

The certification is open to licensed medical professionals who complete prerequisite education. The certification process features:

  • assessment delivery via live remote-proctoring, certification award and renewal via American Heart Association platforms, and
  • individual promotional opportunities by display of personalized certificate award and credentials, which are good for three years.

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