Comparison of Cigarette Smoking Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Among Staff in Perinatal and Other Substance Abuse Treatment Settings

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Objectives:Despite the high prevalence and known morbidity and mortality caused by cigarette smoking, 60% to 70% of substance abuse treatment programs lack smoking cessation counseling or fail to offer pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation, including those programs designed to meet the needs of drug-dependent pregnant patients. Previous studies of staff knowledge, attitudes, and practices (S-KAP) at general substance abuse/HIV treatment programs have suggested that staff may contribute to the deficiency in smoking cessation treatment in these settings. It is not known whether similar deficiencies exist at perinatal substance abuse treatment programs.Methods:This study compared cigarette S-KAP in perinatal substance abuse (n = 41) and general substance abuse/HIV treatment (Veterans Affairs [VA] medical center, hospital-, and community-based) workforce samples (n = 335).Results:Significant differences were seen between the 2 groups on all measures, but perinatal staff compared favorably to general staff only on measures of barriers to smoking cessation services. Perinatal staff compared unfavorably on all other measures: knowledge, beliefs/attitudes, self-efficacy, and smoking cessation practices. Pair-wise comparisons of knowledge and beliefs/attitudes revealed a significant difference between perinatal and VA staff; of self-efficacy, between perinatal and staff at all other settings; and of smoking cessation practices, between perinatal and VA and community-based staff.Conclusions:These results–showing deficiencies of perinatal staff on most S-KAP measures–are concerning and suggest that identifying gaps in and improving S-KAP in perinatal substance abuse programs is urgently needed, for which the VA may provide an efficacious model.

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