Constructing and pre-testing an instrument to assess smoking cessation services within the Brazilian public health system

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Rationale, aims and objectivesAssessing public health interventions is crucial for the development of public policies. Currently, there is no instrument to assess the inputs, activities and short-term outcomes of the smoking cessation programme in the Brazilian public health system. This study reports the development of a questionnaire for that purpose and assesses its suitability.MethodsA multidimensional self-administered questionnaire was constructed. Questions were compiled from three Brazilian governmental acts that define the standards and requirements for smoking cessation services. A panel of experts familiar with tobacco control programmes reviewed the instrument. A pre-test was conducted to assess its suitability, with 18 health professionals working in eight different multidisciplinary teams, which treat smokers in two different Brazilian cities. Descriptive statistics were computed. Statistical analysis was performed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 21; IBM, São Paulo, Brazil). This study was approved by the Committee on Ethics and Research of the Brazilian National Cancer Institute.ResultsA self-administered multidimensional questionnaire comprising 30 questions was developed in Portuguese. The instrument had a high level of acceptance, and was considered clear and covering all parameters necessary to assess the treatment for smoking cessation by 100% of the pre-test participants. The mean time spent to complete the questionnaire varied between 15 and 30 minutes.ConclusionAn understandable and easy-to-use questionnaire was developed with suitable content and it was well accepted by health professionals. Pre-testing provided a substantial enhancement of the questionnaire, minimizing difficulties in understanding the questions and perfecting the response options. This instrument will contribute to the process of assessing smoking cessation services.

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