Non-primary care physicians and smoking cessation counseling: Women Physicians' Health Study.Women Health. 2001; 34(4):15-29.WH
The Women Physicians' Health Study (WPHS) offers a unique opportunity to examine the counseling and screening practices of women physicians in various specialties. In this study we describe the prevalence of self-reported counseling on smoking cessation among non-primary care women physicians and examine the association between their demographic, professional, and personal characteristics and such counseling on smoking cessation.
Conducted in 1993-1994, WPHS is a nationally representative cross-sectional mailed survey of U.S. women physicians with 4,501 respondents representing all major specialties. Physicians in 9 specialty areas were grouped in 6 categories: (1) anesthesiology; (2) general surgery and surgical subspecialties; (3) emergency medicine; (4) medical subspecialties; (5) psychiatry; and (6) other. Frequent counseling was defined as having counseled patients who were known smokers at every visit or at least once a year.
Overall, 45% of the physicians frequently counseled smokers to quit. Medical subspecialists (80%) were most likely and psychiatrists (29%) least likely to counsel frequently. Specialty, perceived relevance of counseling to the physician's practice, and self-confidence in counseling about smoking cessation were associated with frequent counseling.
Cessation counseling by non-primary care physicians can reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. Increasing perceived relevance and self-confidence among this group of physicians, combined with implementation of system changes and the creation of physician accountability can facilitate the provision of such counseling.