Study Finds Most Doctors Don't Smoke; But They Don't Press Patients to Quit

Surveys of health professionals' knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors about tobacco cessation counseling

From July 2003 to February 2004, researchers from Mathematica Policy Research (Princeton, N.J.) conducted a national survey of 2,804 health professionals to determine their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behavior regarding smoking and smoking cessation.

Key Findings

Researchers reported the following key findings to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and in an unpublished manuscript:

  • Few clinicians currently smoke.
  • Primary care physicians are more likely to counsel smokers and offer cessation assistance than other clinicians, but quit advice and support are infrequent across groups.
  • Few clinicians are aware of treatment guidelines.
  • The structure of clinical practices raises barriers to improved cessation practices.
  • There are differences in assessment, treatment and perceived barriers by clinician ethnic group, tobacco use and practice setting.

Funding

RWJF provided $724,777 to support this solicited contract from October 2002 through October 2004.