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Gesundheitswesen. 2010 Apr;72(4):228-32. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1215561. Epub 2009 Jun 16.

[Readiness to provide smoking cessation counselling--results of a survey among general practitioners in Brandenburg].

[Article in German]

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Ruprecht-Karls-Universit├Ąt Heidelberg.



The effectiveness of brief interventions on smoking cessation together with regular visits to the general practitioners (GP) has been proven. Nevertheless, the guidelines for smoking cessation are not currently implemented sufficiently. A lack of financial resources, time, and consulting abilities prevent GPs from offering systematic advice on smoking cessation. This study examine 1) to what extent GPs ask their patients to provide information about their smoking habits and to what extent they document this, 2) how willing, and 3) how confident GPs are to offer all smoking patient counselling, and 4) which factors influence their level of confidence.


From August 2005 until May 2006, a questionnaire was sent to all 1 247 GPs in Brandenburg. In all 68 practices was excluded for several reasons (closed practice, death, not providing primary care) a total of 54.0% (n=637) of the GPs took part.


30.0% of the GPs documented the smoking status of their patients during the first consultation. 12.9% had already offered advice to all their smoking patients, while 27.6% were not willing to offer advice to all smoking patients. The average confidence of GPs to offer all smoking patients advice on smoking cessation was 4.1 (SD=2.6) on scale of 1 to 10 (1=not at all confident and 10=very confident). The confidence of non-smoking GPs to offer an advice was higher in comparison with smoking GPs.


To motivate GPs to offer advice on smoking cessation, it seems necessary to change some conditions. This includes programms, initiated by professional medical associations, to help colleagues stop smoking. Further studies should indicate whether the inclusion of practice colleagues in screening and regular updates of the patient's smoking status increase the number of regular counselling.

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