Smoking Among Doctors: Do As I Say; Not As I Do!

This post has been seen 2224 times.

According to Global Burden of Disease 2010, tobacco smoking is the 3rd ranked risk factor contributing to global DALYs (disability-adjusted life year) after dietary risks and high blood pressure and attributes major risk for cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer. Tobacco has been considered as a great man-made catastrophe which leads to thousands of avoidable deaths each year. Doctors play crucial roles in tobacco control initiatives e.g. role models to the patients, counselors to quit, researchers and lobbyist to policy makers. Surprisingly, there is high prevalence of smoking among the health professionals. Literatures suggest that prevalence of smoking among doctors varies from 25% to 42% in different countries. Moreover a significant proportion of male medical students are smokers (from 7% to 58%). A multicenter study found that 21% of public health physicians are smokers too. Most smoker physicians pointed out stress to be the main reason for smoking. This high prevalence of smoking among physicians leads to public skepticism “why they tell me to quit, when my physician is a smoker!” This also puts the doctors in a conflicting situation where they feel unconfident to practice smoking cessation techniques (5As i.e. Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist and Arrange) over their patients.

Research shows many doctors skip to play active roles in helping their patients to quit smoking by saying that they do not want to interfere with patients’ privacy, whereas it’s their professional responsibility to do so! However, medical curriculum is deficient in tobacco control and there is paucity of professional training on tobacco counseling. We suggest anti-tobacco interventions targeting health professionals and policy recommendations to play active roles in patient counseling. Finally, doctors should utilize their respected position in the society for anti-smoking advice and follow “Preach What You Practice” rules.



You might also like More from author

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons