Background: Despite the cost-effectiveness of physician smoking cessation counseling, many physicians do not adhere to current clinical practice guidelines.
Methods: A cross-sectional mail survey was conducted in a random sample of general practitioners in Montreal to document cessation-counseling practices and identify correlates of these activities.
Results: Of 440 eligible general practitioners, 337 (77%) completed the questionnaire. Despite favorable beliefs/attitudes about cessation counseling, only 10.5% of general practitioners provided "thorough" counseling. While high proportions of general practitioners ascertained smoking status and encouraged patients to quit, relatively few offered adjunct support (i.e., for patients preparing to quit, 49.8% offered follow-up visits; 42.5% offered educational material; 20% referred patients to community resources). Correlates of counseling completeness included high self-efficacy to provide counseling (odds ratio (OR) = 2.0, 95% confidence interval (1.1-3.6)) and favorable beliefs/attitudes about counseling (OR = 3.6 (2.0-6.4)). Correlates of ascertaining smoking status included female gender (OR = 2.3 (1.5-3.5)), high self-efficacy (OR = 3.5 (2.0-5.9)), and favorable beliefs/attitudes (OR = 2.7 (1.6-4.5)). Correlates of offering adjunct support included female gender (OR = 1.9 (1.1-3.2)), awareness of stages of change (OR = 2.4 (1.3-4.4)), and knowledge of community resources to help patients quit (OR = 2.3 (1.3-3.9)).
Conclusion: Support, training, and intervention programs to overcome lack of awareness and knowledge, unfavorable beliefs/attitudes, and low self-efficacy could increase and enhance cessation counseling practices among general practitioners.
Copyright 2001 American Health Foundation and Elsevier Science.