Pack years

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What is it? It is the measurement of lifetime tobacco use.

Why does it matter? It helps to quantify the exposure risks and to determine association or causality with specific smoking related diseases.

How does it affect the EHR? Allscripts Enterprise Social History has a smoking history section. One option states, “Smoking Cigarettes ___ pack-years”.

Pack years.jpg

Only numbers are allowed in this section.

Do the math: To determine the correct number, multiply the packs per day by the number of years the patient smoked.

Note: 1 pack is 20 cigarettes


Examples:

Patient A smoked 2 packs per day for 5 years. Multiply 2 x 5= 10 pack years. The correct statement is: “Smoking Cigarettes _10__ pack-years”.

Patient B smoked 10 cigarettes per day for 10 years. Multiply 0.5(half a pack) x 10= 5 pack years. The correct statement is: “Smoking Cigarettes _5__ pack-years”.

Patient C smoked 1 pack for 3 years, 2 packs for 1 1/2 years and half a pack for 2 years.

1 pack x 3 yrs = 3 pack-years
2 packs x 1.5 yrs = 3 pack-years
0.5 packs x 2 yrs = 1 pack-year
Total of 7 pack-years for patient C

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