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Tumori. 2003 May-Jun;89(3):250-4.

Italian general practitioners and smoking cessation strategies.

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Center for Study and Cancer Prevention (CSPO), Florence, Italy.



General practitioners (GPs) are in a key position to intervene with patients who smoke. The cornerstone of a smoking cessation strategy should be the routine provision of brief advice and follow-up in primary care. However, it seems GPs do not often take action against smoking, at least in Italy as shown by previous reports. The survey was planned, in the context of the "GPs Empowerment Project", a collaborative project involving Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Portugal, under the ENSP contract with the European Commission (Health & Consumer protection Directorate-General), to evaluate the general attitude, knowledge and behavior of GPs regarding smoking cessation methods.


A total of 729 family doctors, 409 in Northern and 320 in Southern Italy, were interviewed by phone in the period July-October 2000 regarding their personal smoking habits and their approach with patients on the topic. Prevalence rates were computed using the Epi INFO 6.0 software and were presented as the unadjusted percentage prevalence.


The percentage of current smokers among GPs included in the survey was 28.3%, with a higher prevalence in the south (33.3%). Most of the GPs believe that it is their duty to give information about smoking cessation (96.8%) and consider giving information about smoking cessation to their patients an important intervention (98.5%), but only about 49% think their patients will accept their advice. Most GPs (87.3%) declared having discussed about tobacco use with their patients during the month preceding the interview, and 83.5% would like to be trained on smoking cessation strategies.


The results show that, in order to implement primary prevention in clinical practice in Italy, it appears essential to reduce the number of GPs who smoke and to improve GP training on smoking cessation procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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