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Am J Prev Med. 2000 May;18(4):300-4.

A survey of smoking cessation knowledge, training, and practice among U.S. Army general medical officers.

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Department of Medicine, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, USA. Matthew.Hepburn@AMEDD.Army.Mil



Historically, cigarette-smoking rates have been higher among military personnel than among civilians, although recently these rates have decreased.


In March 1997, a questionnaire assessing (1) training received on smoking cessation, (2) objective knowledge of smoking-cessation techniques, (3) frequency of practice habits, and (4) personal tobacco use among physicians, was successfully mailed to 232 of the total population of 279 Army general medical officers (GMOs).


One-hundred-fifty (65%) GMOs returned questionnaires. Of these, 3.3% reported personal cigarette smoking, and 7.3% regularly used smokeless tobacco. During internship, few (13%) GMOs received smoking-cessation training. Primary care programs provided training more frequently than did surgery internship programs. The mean score on the objective knowledge portion was 72%. GMOs had a variable practice pattern in their use of smoking-cessation techniques (percent answering "usually" or "always"): helping patients set quit dates (35%), offering to prescribe the nicotine patch (59%), referring patients to a behavior-modification program (86%). Physicians who received training during internship were significantly more likely (p < 0.01) to help their patients set a quit date. Training did not result in a statistically increased frequency of other practice habits.


GMOs received minimal training on smoking cessation during internship. GMOs refer patients to smoking-cessation classes, reflecting the strategy of the Army Health Promotion program. Strategies to increase the frequency that GMOs prescribe nicotine replacement and assist patients in setting a quit date are needed. Military smoking-cessation efforts may provide valuable lessons for the civilian community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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