Questions under study: Whether a 1-year nationwide, government supported programme is effective in significantly increasing the number of smoking cessation clinics at major Swiss hospitals as well as providing basic training for the staff running them.
Methods: We conducted a baseline evaluation of hospital services for smoking cessation, hypertension, and obesity by web search and telephone contact followed by personal visits between October 2005 and January 2006 of 44 major public hospitals in the 26 cantons of Switzerland; we compared the number of active smoking cessation services and trained personnel between baseline to 1 year after starting the programme including a training workshop for doctors and nurses from all hospitals as well as two further follow-up visits.
Results: At base line 9 (21%) hospitals had active smoking cessation services, whereas 43 (98%) and 42 (96%) offered medical services for hypertension and obesity respectively. Hospital directors and heads of Internal Medicine of 43 hospitals were interested in offering some form of help to smokers provided they received outside support, primarily funding to get started or to continue. At two identical workshops, 100 health professionals (27 in Lausanne, 73 in Zurich) were trained for one day. After the programme, 22 (50%) hospitals had an active smoking cessation service staffed with at least 1 trained doctor and 1 nurse.
Conclusion: A one-year, government-supported national intervention resulted in a substantial increase in the number of hospitals allocating trained staff and offering smoking cessation services to smokers. Compared to the offer for hypertension and obesity this offer is still insufficient.