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Physician assessment of patient smoking in Indonesia: a public health priority
  1. Nawi Ng1,
  2. Yayi Suryo Prabandari1,
  3. Retna Siwi Padmawati2,
  4. Felix Okah3,
  5. C Keith Haddock4,
  6. Mark Nichter5,
  7. Mimi Nichter5,
  8. Myra Muramoto6,
  9. Walker S C Poston4,
  10. Sara A Pyle4,
  11. Nurazid Mahardinata2,
  12. Harry A Lando7
  1. 1Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Gadjah Mada University, Jogjakarta, Indonesia
  2. 2Centre for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Gadjah Mada University, Jogjakarta, Indonesia
  3. 3Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  4. 4Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  5. 5Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  6. 6Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  7. 7Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr N Ng
 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Gadjah Mada University, IKM Building 3rd Floor, Farmako Street, North Sekip, Jogjakarta 55281, Indonesia; ngnawi{at}


Objective: To explore Indonesian physician’s smoking behaviours, their attitudes and clinical practices towards smoking cessation.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Physicians working in Jogjakarta Province, Indonesia, between October and December 2003.

Subjects: 447 of 690 (65%) physicians with clinical responsibilities responded to the survey (236 men, 211 women), of which 15% were medical faculty, 35% residents and 50% community physicians.

Results: 22% of male (n = 50) and 1% of female (n = 2) physicians were current smokers. Approximately 72% of physicians did not routinely ask about their patient’s smoking status. A majority of physicians (80%) believed that smoking up to 10 cigarettes a day was not harmful for health. The predictors for asking patients about smoking were being male, a non-smoker and a medical resident. The odds of advising patients to quit were significantly greater among physicians who perceived themselves as sufficiently trained in smoking cessation.

Conclusions: Lack of training in smoking cessation seems to be a major obstacle to physicians actively engaging in smoking cessation activities. Indonesian physicians need to be educated on the importance of routinely asking their patients about their tobacco use and offering practical advice on how to quit smoking.

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  • Funding: The Quit Tobacco International research project is supported by the Fogarty International Centre of the US National Institutes of Health (R01 TW005969 - 01). This project currently has research sites in Indonesia and India.

  • Competing interests: None.