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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2002 Sep 30;114(17-18):762-5.

Smoking habits of office-based general practitioners and internists in Austria and their smoking cessation efforts.

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Forschungsprojekt Lunge und Umwelt, Ludwig Boltzmann-Institut für Umweltpneumologie, City Hospital Lainz, Vienna, Austria.


Tobacco smoking is the major cause of lung disease. This study aimed to determine: 1) the prevalence of tobacco smoking among office-based physicians; 2) their readiness to inquire about their patients' smoking habits and, if need be, to motivate them to stop smoking; 3) whether non-smoking doctors advise their patients more frequently to stop smoking than their smoker colleagues do. A self-designed questionnaire on a post card was sent to 7674 office-based general practitioners (GPs) and internists. 1395 (18.2%) questionnaires were returned. Independent telephone interviews with 91 doctors were also carried out to minimize the bias of self-presentation. Just under 11% of doctors were smokers. About 50% of all doctors who responded described themselves as ex-smokers. 38% of the smokers would accept outside help to stop smoking. About 50% of GPs and 90% of internists inquire about the smoking habits of their patients during history taking. Of these, 85% of GPs and 92% of internists recommend their patients to stop smoking. Doctors who themselves are smokers do so less than their non-smoker colleagues. For this reason, a further reduction in the smoking prevalence among doctors would be of special importance. Inquiry about smoking habits in the initial history taking should be stressed more to identify any smoker who can be subsequently encouraged to stop smoking.

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