Hospital doctors' smoking behavior and attitude towards smoking cessation interventions for patients: a survey in an Italian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

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Abstract

Purpose:

Tobacco control guidelines recommend all healthcare professionals to ask patients about their smoking status and to offer them at least minimal cessation advice. However, few data are available about the daily practice of hospital clinicians who work with smoking cancer patients. This study assesses, in a comprehensive cancer center, the physicians' smoking habit, their clinical practice in offering a smoking cessation intervention to patients who smoke, and the training they received in this field.

Methods:

A Web-based survey was sent to 285 physicians.

Results:

The survey response rate was 75%. Sixty-two percent, 24%, and 14% of responders were never, former, and current smokers, respectively. Six percent of all responding physicians have already participated in smoking cessation training and 43% of them declared their willingness to be trained. Eighty-six percent of all responding physicians asked about the patients' smoking status, 50% routinely advised patients to quit smoking, and 32% assessed their motivation to do so. Smoking cessation guidelines were not followed mostly for lack of time, fear to increase patients' stress, and lack of smoking cessation training. Ninety-four percent of responding physicians knew the smoking cessation service for outpatients and 65% referred at least one patient, 66% of responding physicians knew the service for inpatients, and 36% of them asked for at least one intervention in the ward.

Conclusions:

This study pointed out partial adherence of the physicians working in a leading cancer center to the smoking cessation guidelines. The clinicians' smoking habits did not influence the training and the clinical practice in offering patients smoking cessation interventions.

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