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Physician assessment of patient smoking in Indonesia: a public health priority

Abstract

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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