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A study of smoking and smoking cessation on the curricula of UK medical schools
  1. E Roddy1,
  2. P Rubin2,
  3. J Britton3,
  4. on behalf of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians
  1. 1Division of Respiratory Medicine, School of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham
  3. 3Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Elin Roddy
 Division of Respiratory Medicine, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK;


Objectives: To identify current practice in teaching on smoking and smoking cessation in UK medical schools, and establish whether newly qualified UK doctors feel prepared to deliver smoking cessation interventions.

Design: Search of published curricula from all UK medical schools; questionnaire surveys of all UK medical school deans and UK qualified pre-registration house officers (PRHOs).

Participants: Deans or nominated representatives from all 24 UK medical schools with current undergraduates, and all UK qualified PRHOs.

Main outcome measures: Inclusion and organisation in curriculum of 15 predefined core topics related to smoking (deans); perceived readiness to deliver smoking cessation interventions (PRHOs).

Results: There was no mention of smoking or smoking cessation in the published curriculum material of 10 (42%) medical schools. Deans reported compulsory teaching on a mean (SD) of 9.5 (2.8) core topics, while PRHOs recalled compulsory teaching in only 6.6 (3.2). Training in clinical aspects of smoking cessation was particularly neglected, with 60% of PRHOs reporting that they graduated unable to deliver smoking cessation interventions in accordance with national guidelines. Only 17% of PRHOs felt well prepared to deliver advice on using nicotine replacement therapy, and 5% on bupropion.

Conclusions: Teaching on smoking cessation in UK medical schools is inadequate.

  • medical schools
  • curricula
  • cessation
  • nicotine
  • education
  • GP, general practitioner
  • NHS, National Health Service
  • NRT, nicotine replacement therapy
  • PRHO, pre-registration house officers

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