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Vojnosanit Pregl. 2013 May;70(5):493-500.

Smoking habits, knowledge about and attitudes toward smoking among employees in health institutions in Serbia.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, Nis, Serbia.



According to the number of active smokers, Serbia occupies a high position in Europe, as well as worldwide. More than 47% of adults are smokers according to WHO data, and 33.6% according to the National Health Survey Serbia in 2006. Smoking physicians are setting a bad example to patients, they are uncritical to this habit, rarely ask patients whether they smoke and rarely advise them not to smoke. These facts contribute to the battle for reducing the number of medical workers who smoke, as well as the number of smokers among general population. The aim of the study was to determine the smoking behavior, knowledge and attitudes and cessation advice given to patients by healthcare professionals in Serbia.


A stratified random cluster sample of 1,383 participants included all types of health institutions in Serbia excluding Kosovo. The self administrated questionnaire was used to collect data about smoking habits, knowledge, attitudes and cessation advice to patients given by health professionals in Serbia.


Out of 1,383 participants, 45.60% were smokers, of whom 34.13% were physicians and 51.87% nurses. There were 46.4% male and 45.4% female smokers. The differences in agreement with the statements related to the responsibilities of health care professionals and smoking policy are significant between the "ever" and "never" smokers, and also between physicians and nurses. Twenty-five percent of nurses and 22% of doctors claimed they had received formal training. However, only 35.7% of the healthcare professionals felt very prepared to counsel patients, while 52.7% felt somewhat prepared and 11.6% were not prepared at all.


According to the result of this survey, there are needs for more aggressive nationwide non-smoking campaigns for physicians and medical students. Experiences from countries where physicians smoke less and more effectively carry out smoking cessation practices need to be shared with Serbian physicians in order to improve their smoking behavior and smoking cessation practices.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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