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The British Medical Association (BMA) has a long history of involvement with tobacco control, so it seems appropriate that it is home to the new Tobacco Control Resource Centre, established on behalf of the European Forum of Medical Associations and the World Health Organisation (WHO) European region. The centre is funded by the European Commission, WHO, and the BMA, and receives support from national medical associations (NMAs). The principal aim of the project is to encourage doctors across the European region to stop smoking, as well as to increase the knowledge and skills of doctors in smoking cessation, and to promote and support tobacco control activities by NMAs.
Although the prevalence of smoking among doctors is down to a few percent in some European countries—6% in Sweden, for example—the picture varies dramatically across the 51 countries of the European region. In central and eastern Europe, a quarter to a third of doctors still smoke. (See Davis RM. When doctors smoke. Tobacco Control1983;2:187–8.
The work of the Resource Centre is being overseen by the Tobacco Control Advisory Group, which includes representatives from five NMAs reflecting the demography of the European region. It is working with NMAs, WHO, and other interested groups to collect relevant data and resources, and to offer free advice and consultancy to doctors and NMAs. It will also help provide missions to NMAs in need of help on tobacco control issues. In addition, a postal survey on doctors’ smoking prevalence is being carried out, a new booklet on tobacco is being developed for doctors, and smoking cessation training materials will be offered to NMAs.