Tobacco use and cessation counseling--global health professionals survey pilot study, 10 countries, 2005

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 May 27;54(20):505-9.


Tobacco use is projected to cause nearly 450 million deaths worldwide during the next 50 years. Health professionals can have a critical role in reducing tobacco use; even brief and simple advice from health professionals can substantially increase smoking cessation rates. Therefore, one of the strategies to reduce the number of smoking-related deaths is to encourage the involvement of health professionals in tobacco-use prevention and cessation counseling. Studies have collected information from health-profession students in various countries about their tobacco use and training as cessation counselors; however, no study has collected this information cross-nationally by using a consistent survey methodology. The World Health Organization (WHO), CDC, and the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) developed the Global Health Professionals Survey (GHPS) to collect data on tobacco use and cessation counseling among health-profession students in all WHO member states. This report summarizes findings from the GHPS Pilot Study, which consisted of 16 surveys conducted in 10 countries among third-year students in four health-profession disciplines (dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy) during the first quarter of 2005. The findings indicated that current cigarette smoking among these students was higher than 20% in seven of the 10 countries surveyed. Nevertheless, 87%-99% of the students surveyed believed they should have a role in counseling patients to quit smoking; only 5%-37% of these third-year students had actually received formal training in how to conduct such counseling. Schools for health professionals, public health organizations, and education officials should work together to design and implement training in smoking-cessation counseling for all health-profession students.

MeSH terms

  • Global Health
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation* / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Students, Dental
  • Students, Medical
  • Students, Nursing
  • Students, Pharmacy