Objective: A clinical practice guideline for smoking cessation was released in Italy in 2002, but to date little is known about the implementation of these recommendations among primary care physicians. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of receiving physician-delivered advice to quit smoking and to determine what factors were related to the receipt of advice among adult Italian smokers.
Methods: The data were collected as part of the Italian 2004-2006 adult tobacco surveys (analyzed in 2007), conducted by DOXA, the Italian branch of the Gallup International Association, and representative of the population aged>or=18 years. Each year smokers were asked whether they had received advice to quit smoking from their family physician during the previous year. Demographic, socioeconomic, tobacco-related, and physician-related variables were examined for their association with the receipt of advice. A logistic regression model was then fit to the data to determine which variables were related to receiving advice to quit smoking.
Results: Overall, 22% of smokers reported receiving advice to quit smoking from their physician in the previous year. Less likely to receive advice to quit were smokers who: were single (compared to divorced, widowed, or separated); lived in the South; had a higher level of education; were lighter smokers; had no previous quit attempts; and had physicians who likely smoked.
Conclusions: The data suggest that Italian physicians are not advising smokers to quit at a high rate. Future research should focus on methods that encourage physicians to counsel smokers to quit during a patient-provider encounter.