PURPOSE: The prevalence of smoking in developing countries is still rising making it an important public health concern. Healthcare workers are viewed as role models for their patients and to the public and are usually the resource for patients considering smoking cessation. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of smoking among healthcare workers and their awareness of the currently available methods for smoking cessation.
METHODS: Physicians and nurses at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC) ,an 850-bed tertiary care hospital in Riyadh ,Saudi Arabia were asked to fill an online survey developed on a commercial secure website. A second reminder was sent two weeks later. Hard copies were distributed in areas in the hospital with no internet access.
RESULTS: Two hundred and seventy physicians and 470 nurses responded to the survey. The prevalence of smoking was 13.5% among physicians and 20.5% among nurses, while 10.3% of physicians and 12.1% of nurses reported being Ex-smokers.Seventy five percent of physicians reported routinely screening their patients regarding their smoking history and 88% of physicians felt comfortable talking to their patients about smoking cessation. However only 30% of physicians reported good results in their patients. The physicians’ and nurses’ knowledge of the currently available methods for smoking cessation was very poor with the exception of Nicotine replacement and Behavioral therapy. Eighty six percent of physicians have never received any training on smoking cessation programs. Most physicians considered that referring patients to smoking cessation clinics will result in best outcome.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of smoking among healthcare workers at KFSH&RC is alarmingly high. The majority of physicians do not have adequate knowledge of the currently available methods to help patients quit smoking, and that has translated into poor reported success in helping smoking patients quit.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The establishment of a dedicated smoking cessation clinic will likely result in the best outcome in helping smokers quit. Incorporating training in medical school and residency programs is recommended.
DISCLOSURE: Ashraf Al-Tarifi, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information