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Prev Med. 1994 Nov;23(6):800-8.

Comparisons of the smoking cessation counseling activities of six types of health professionals.

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Office of Health Promotion Research, University of Vermont, Burlington 05401.



This study was designed to assess and compare the smoking cessation counseling activities of primary care physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, family planning counselors, WIC counselors, and community mental health counselors in four counties in the northeastern United States for planning appropriate education programs.


Lists of the health professionals in each of these groups in the four study counties were obtained from state licensing boards, clinic directors, and telephone directories. Surveys were conducted by mail, using a 19-item instrument which could be completed in 2-4 min.


Comparisons among these professional groups showed that physicians, family planning counselors, and WIC counselors felt better prepared to provide cessation advice than did mental health counselors, dentists, and dental hygienists. Physicians, family planning counselors, and WIC counselors also were more active in providing smoking cessation advice to women smokers than were the other three groups. Levels of use of specific counseling activities were generally low. Setting a quit date, arranging for follow-up visits, and referral for further assistance were used for only a minority of women smokers.


Opportunities for educational interventions that could increase these health professionals' effectiveness were apparent for each of the groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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