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Soc Sci Med. 1993 Mar;36(6):817-22.

Prevalence of smoking in physicians and medical students, and the generation effect in The Netherlands.

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Department of Public Health and Social Medicine (M.G.Z.), Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


This study investigates smoking habits and attitudes towards smoking in general practitioners, consultants at a university hospital, medical students and students of health policy and management (H.P.M.). An anonymous, self-administered postal survey was used. Thirty-eight percent of the general practitioners, 27% of the consultants, 18% of the medical students and 31% of the H.P.M. students are current smokers. The prevalence of smoking was found to be higher in the male general practitioners and the male H.P.M. students than in the general male population. The prevalence of smoking was lower in female physicians and students than in their male counterparts and also lower than in the general female population. Medical students are not inclined to start smoking: a strong generation effect can be observed. This will reinforce the current downward trend in the prevalence of smoking in Dutch physicians. The doctors were found to have a suboptimal level of knowledge about methods of smoking cessation and about the association between smoking and health disorders. Most Dutch physicians, especially those who smoke, fail to perceive their role as an example to the general population concerning smoking behaviour. Medical students were found to have even less recognition of their future exemplary role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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