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Acta Clin Belg. 2000 Sep-Oct;55(5):266-75.

Physician's involvement in the smoking cessation process of their patients. Results of a 1998 survey among 4,643 Belgian physicians.

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This report relates to the 1,667 responses to a selfadministered mail-back questionnaire sent by BELTA to a sample of 4,643 physicians (17.3% current smokers) who are in professional contact with patients (response rate: 35.9%). Links between active smoking and disease are considered as well-demonstrated by 98.8% physicians and for passive smoking by 85.3%, for foetal consequences of smoking during pregnancy by 96.4%. Nicotine dependence is admitted by 83.3%. Interaction of smoking with drug metabolism is insufficiently known. Modulation of the specific approach of smoking cessation, according to the various stages of the cessation cycle, to the level of nicotine dependence and to the psychological status of the smoker is not sufficiently perceived by the physicians. Patient's smoking status is systematically determined by less than half the physicians, of whom nearly 90% claim to inform their smoking patients on smoking-related risks, and 84.2% to tackle the problem of cessation. The intervention is mostly limited to a firm advice, completed by nicotine replacement for a maximum of 50% of smokers (especially gum and patch). Referral to specialized structures is unfrequent (between 10 and 20%). Follow up after cessation is clearly deficient. In this retrospective study of their activity patterns, physicians' reports may reflect their intentions rather than their actual practices. We conclude that smoking issues and cessation techniques should be more intensively taught both at graduate and postgraduate levels, in order to obtain a more active behaviour of health professionals against smoking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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