To the Editor.—We would like to congratulate Ockene and collaborators1 for their recent article on the smoking cessation training for residents. We agree with the statement that "physicians indicate that their willingness to intervene with smokers would be considerably enhanced if they felt confident of their ability to have a positive effect on smoking habits." However, their following statement, "medical school and residency training do little to promote the skills needed in this area," is poorly documented.
Concerned with the relative lack of data on the extent and quality of formal educational programs available to internal medicine house officers as part of their training, we randomly selected and surveyed 30 of 209 East Coast teaching hospitals listed in the Directory of Residency Training Programs.2 Residency program directors or chief residents in internal medicine were interviewed by telephone for the existence of structured smoking cessation counseling training. The questionnaire revealed