Treatment of tobacco dependence in UK hospitals: an observational study

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Over a million smokers are admitted to hospitals in the UK each year. The extent to which tobacco dependence is identified and addressed in this population is unclear. Data on 14,750 patients from 146 hospitals collected for the British Thoracic Society smoking cessation audit were analysed to determine smoking prevalence, attempts to ask smokers about quitting, and referrals to smoking cessation services. Associations with hospital organisational factors were assessed by logistic regression. Overall hospital smoking prevalence was 25%. Only 28% of smokers were asked whether they would like to quit, and only one in 13 smokers was referred for treatment of tobacco dependence. There was a higher chance of smokers being asked about quitting in organisations with smoke-free sites, dedicated smoking cessation practitioners, regular staff training, and availability of advanced pharmacotherapy. Treatment of tobacco dependence in smokers attending UK hospitals is poor and could be associated with organisational factors.

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