Background: Medical illness has often been thought to provide smokers with motivation to quit smoking. However, the actual impact that illness and hospitalization has on smokers' interest in cessation is not clear. Further, little is known about the role that hospital staff play in encouraging cessation.
Methods: This article is a descriptive study examining smoking prevalence and interest in cessation among 304 inpatients hospitalized in a specialized cardiovascular disease unit and a general medical unit. In addition, the efforts of hospital staff in promoting cessation were assessed.
Results: The overall smoking prevalence among this order sample was 16%. Although the majority of smokers (79%) indicated a desire to quit smoking, there was little interest in using formal treatment options to quit. Quitting on one's own was the most preferred cessation strategy. Approximately one-third of the smokers expressed interest in receiving cessation counseling from their physicians. Patient reports indicated that both physicians and nurses on the general medical unit intervened on smoking less frequently than staff on the cardiovascular disease unit. Seventy-one percent of all smokers reported that the medical resident did not discuss smoking with them.
Conclusion: Despite the small number of smokers in this sample, this study has implications for development of training programs for hospital staff on delivery of brief smoking interventions.