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A minute for advocacy
  1. Carol Ripley-Moffitt
  1. Nicotine Dependence Program, Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Carol Ripley-Moffitt, UNC Family Medicine, 590 Manning Drive, CB 7595, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27599-7595, USA; carol_ripley-moffitt{at}

Statistics from

What an unexpectedly rapid response to an online recommendation! Here’s how the scene unfolded on a hectic day:

11:40: surfing web for best nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) prices.

11:43: Discover following link after description of a nicotine replacement patch:

“Additional Information CLICK HERE for Quit Assist website from Philip Morris USA”

11:44: To self:

“Did PM [Philip Morris] actually pay for that? If so it’ll never get removed—what the heck, it’s easy to click Contact Us and point out the incongruence”.

11:45: Message sent:

“The last place people who are trying to quit smoking need to be clicking for assistance is a tobacco company website. There are multiple online assistance programs, (I listed some). Please consider replacing or at least eliminating the link to Philip Morris”.

13:31: (Same day!) Message received:

“Having read your message, I instructed the sales department to change all of the listings to reflect a link to as I personally felt that this website was extremely well designed and geared to helping the smoker quit without linking them to any preferential, alternate websites. Please feel free to re-examine our website. I think it will help ensure our personal motto of “Be Well” not just in theory, but in practice. Thank you for your concern and we appreciate your input”.

13:33: Revisit site—every smoking cessation product on the site has new link.

And to think I almost didn’t take the time!

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  • Competing interests: CR-M is Program Manager and a certified tobacco treatment specialist at the University of North Carolina Nicotine Dependence Program.

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