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Smoking Cessation Toolkit: Physical Assessment

Although physical assessment may not directly relate to the smoking cessation process itself, there are methods to assess smoking-related diseases, which may be applicable to patients who are seeking tobacco cessation assistance.


Basic Physical Assessment

The physical effects of nicotine use may include tachycardia, accelerated blood pressure as well as weight loss.

Click here for information related to physical assessment of blood pressure, vitals and BMI.


Ankle-Brachial Index

The ankle-brachial index (ABI) test is used for the screening and diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), for which smoking is a major risk factor. It is recommended that ABI be measured in all smokers over the age of 50. The ABI is performed by measuring the systolic pressures at the arms and the ankles and is calculated as the highest pressure in the right foot (for right ABI) or left foot (for left ABI) divided by the highest pressure in either arm. The following resource through Stanford Medicine contains additional details regarding ABI measurement technique and interpretation of results.

Click here for this link.


Carbon Monoxide (CO) Testing

CO monitors can be utilized to measure the amount of CO in expired breath of smokers. CO levels decrease after smoking cessation and therefore can be a quick, non-invasive way to evaluate smoking status. Additionally, these hand-held monitors may be used as a motivational tool for patients to objectively visualize the harmful effects of smoking.


The following link is a document available via the SAMHSA Website explaining CO monitoring in the context of smoking cessation.

Click here for this document.


Below are examples of CO monitors on the market with links to find out more information


Smokerlyzer(R) - Click here for this link

  • Micro+TMpro
  • Micro+TMbaby
  • Micro+TMbasic
  • iCO+TM
  • babyCOmpactTM

CO Sleuth - Click here for this link.

Smoke Check - Click here for this link.



LungLifeTM is a spirometer that calculates a patient’s lung age and is marketed as a motivational tool for smoking cessation.

Click here for this link.



Click here to return to the Smoking Cessation Toolkit.


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