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Utilization of the smokescreen smoking cessation program by general practitioners and their patients

, : Utilization of the smokescreen smoking cessation program by general practitioners and their patients. Medical Journal of Australia 151(2): 83-87

General practitioners have been encouraged to be more active in helping their patients to stop smoking. A number of research studies overseas and in Australia has reported that they can be effective in this form of health promotion. The "Smokescreen" programme is an intensive, structured antismoking intervention that was developed for use by general practitioners who had attended to workshops on the use of the programme were contacted 12 months later to find out what use they had made of the programme, and how effective it had been. Only 18 of the 38 doctors who initially agreed to cooperate in the study had recruited smokers to the programme and had kept records of their progress. These 18 doctors had recruited 121 smokers in the 12-month period: only 7% (approximately) of all their patients who smoked. Of these, 29 (24%) patients reported that they had stopped smoking. Reasons that were given by doctors for their inability to use the prorgramme as fully as they had hoped included the difficulty in recruiting smokers, a lack of time, and a low rate of return by the patients for follow-up visits. These results suggest that while general practitioners should be encouraged to give brief antismoking advice, general practice may not be a suitable location for more-intensive antismoking programmes. Limited health-promotional funds may be deployed better in general community awareness and mass-media programmes.


PMID: 2739612

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