General practitioners' beliefs about effectiveness and intentions to recommend smoking cessation services: qualitative and quantitative studies

BMC Fam Pract. 2007 Jul 5;8:39. doi: 10.1186/1471-2296-8-39.


Background: General practitioners' (GPs) negative beliefs about smoking cessation services may act as barriers to them recommending such services to smokers motivated to stop smoking.

Methods: In Study 1, 25 GPs from 16 practices across London were interviewed in this qualitative study. Framework analysis was used to identify key themes in GPs' beliefs about smoking cessation services. In Study 2, a convenience sample of 367 GPs completed an internet-based survey. Path-analysis was used to examine relationships between beliefs identified in Study 1 and intentions to recommend smoking cessation services.

Results: In Study 1, GPs felt that smoking cessation assistance was best provided by others. GPs favoured local services (i.e. practice nurses offering stop smoking support) over central services (i.e. offered through the Primary Care Trust), mainly because these were seen as more personalised and accessible for patients. These beliefs appeared to influence GPs' beliefs about the effectiveness of services. In Study 2, GPs' beliefs had a large effect on their intentions to recommend both central services, (f2 = .79) and local services, (f2 = 1.04). GPs' beliefs about effectiveness and cost-effectiveness were key predictors their intentions to recommend central services and local services. Beliefs about the level of personalisation offered and smokers' likelihood of attending services had indirect effects on intentions to recommend services operating via beliefs about effectiveness.

Conclusion: GPs vary in their perceptions of the effectiveness of smoking cessation services and their intentions to recommend these services vary in line with these beliefs. Interventions aimed at increasing the likelihood with which GPs recommend these services may therefore be more effective if they addressed these beliefs.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Bupropion / therapeutic use
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • London
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Qualitative Research
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Bupropion
  • Nicotine