1887
Volume 2010, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0253-8253
  • E-ISSN: 2227-0426

Abstract

Background: Cigarette smoking is universally acknowledged to be a health hazard. Primary care physicians have several important responsibilities, being role models, information providers, and identifiers/modifiers of risk behaviors, and researchers. They are often able to influence the behavior of their own patients as well as the society as a whole in the prevention of illness and promotion of well-being. This can be accomplished by both serving as personal role models and actively promoting healthy behavior among their patients. Doctors who smoke may have a problem in achieving these two objectives, especially when trying to convince their own patients to quit smoking. The purpose of this study was to identify smoking prevalence among primary care physicians in Doha, Qatar, and to explore how the smoking behaviors of physicians, their perceived ability to influence patient smoking behavior, and their knowledge about health outcomes related to smoking can influence their interaction with patients.

Methods: A cross-sectional, self-administered, anonymous survey was conducted in November through December 2007, among 12 primary healthcare centers in Doha. Analyses were based on responses from 151 physicians, representing an 83.8% response rate.

Results: The prevalence of smoking was 23.1% among primary care physicians, 1 5.8% of them were current smokers and 7.3% were ex-smokers. Smoking prevalence was significantly higher in men than women (12.9% vs.1.5 % regular smokers). Almost two thirds of smokers started smoking before reaching 20 years of age. Among smokers, 28.6% had previously smoked in the presence of patients and 40% of them felt ready to quit smoking within the next six months. Finally, physicians who smoke are less likely to ask their patients about their smoking behavior or believe their example is likely to influence their patients.

Conclusion: Smoking prevalence is considerably high among physicians in the 1 2 primary healthcare centers in Doha, and a large percentage of physician smoke in the presence of their patients. Physicians' smoking behavior and attitude to smoking influences whether they counsel patients regarding smoking. These results indicate a need to educate physicians in Qatar about their potential for influencing patients to not start or quit smoking. There is a need for health education campaign not only for the general population but also for healthcare workers.

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2010-12-01
2019-10-19
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