MedSchool: Ace Your OSCEsThe Medical Company
GET - On the App Store
Basic History

Smoking History

February 15th, 2021
On this page:Pack-Years


Smoking tobacco places patients at risk of multiple respiratory, cardiovascular and other complications. By understanding our patients' smoking history and overall exposure to tobacco it is possible to estimate this risk and guide them in attempting to quit smoking.
  • Ask About

  • Everyone

  • Whether the patient currently smokes or has smoked
  • What age they started smoking
  • How many years they smoked in total
  • How many cigarettes per day
  • Heavy Smokers

  • Past attempts to quit
  • Length they were able to quit for
  • Cravings between cigarettes
  • Aids used in attempting to quit - nicotine gum / patches, champix
  • Willingness to cut down or stop
  • Consequences of Tobacco Smoking

  • Atherosclerosis - coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease
  • Cancer - lung, throat, liver, gastric, colorectal, pancreatic, genitourinary
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Pregnancy / neonatal complications - infertility, growth restriction, placental abruption, preterm delivery, SIDS
  • Increased infection risk
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Osteoporosis


The number of 'packs' a patient has smoked per day over how many years. A useful measure of the amount of tobacco exposure the patient has had.
  • Formula

  • Pack years = ( Cigarettes per day / 20 ) * number of years smoked
Next Page
Want more info like this?
  • Your electronic clinical medicine handbook
  • Guides to help pass your exams
  • Tools every medical student needs
  • Quick diagrams to have the answers, fast
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge
Sign Up Now

Snapshot: Initialising...