European Respiratory Society


Tobacco smoking (TS) is a major cause of lung diseases. This study aimed to determine: 1) the prevalence of TS among chest physicians; 2) the influence of the personal smoking habit on clinical practice; and 3) what training about tobacco-related issues (TI) doctors received in medical school. A total of 983 attendees at the National Meeting of the Italian National Thoracic Society (AIPO) received a questionnaire about TI, which also contained the Fagerstroem Tolerance Questionnaire, and 605 (61.5%) answered. An independent assessment of the prevalence of smokers was carried out to minimize the bias of self-selection. The numbers of smokers was 151 (25%), never-smokers 246 (40.7%) and exsmokers 208 (34.4%). Smoking chest physicians underestimate the health hazards of smoking (p<0.001) and disregard their educational role (p=0.005) more than nonsmoking chest physicians. Compliance with smoking restrictions inside hospitals is frequently poor (30.1% smoke in clinics). In 33.1% of smokers a high nicotine addiction was found, which influenced their behaviour in hospital but not their ability to cope with tobacco-related problems. This ability was generally low: 39.1% of responders reported no training about TI. Smoking is frequent among Italian chest physicians, who are poorly trained about the health effects of tobacco smoking and are poorly skilled in treating smokers.