Physicians' attitudes and reported practices toward smoking intervention

Robert J. Goldberg, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Ira S. Ockene, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Judith K. Ockene, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Philip A. Merriam, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Jean L. Kristeller

Document Type Article

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine differences in the attitudes and reported practices toward smoking intervention of 224 internal medicine, family practice, and surgical physicians from one medical school faculty. Most internists and family practice physicians reported intervening with their patients who smoke, whereas only 50% of surgeons reported intervening with their patients who smoke. Each of the physician groups attached a high degree of importance to smoking cessation in patients with various chronic diseases. Physicians reported that they were most likely to intervene in the smoking habits of young patients, those with reversible disease, those who were receptive to intervention, and with those who had made previous quit attempts. The three obstacles identified by the various physician groups most related to the delivery of quit smoking intervention included the amount of time involved, patient receptivity, and associated lifestyle problems. The results of this study suggest differences among physician specialties in their intervention efforts with smokers and those factors related to the delivery of stop smoking advice. Further reinforcement of specific physician specialty groups for the important role of physicians in assisting their patients to stop smoking remains.