Background: A cross-sectional study was conducted to provide a snapshot of smoking behavior among staff and patients at a major metropolitan hospital in Melbourne.
Methods: Patients and staff were surveyed using a questionnaire exploring demographics, nicotine dependence (Fagerstrom test), readiness to quit, and preference for smoking cessation options.
Results: A total of 1496 people were screened within 2 hours; 1,301 participated (1,100 staff, 199 patients). Mean age was 42 years, 68% were female. There were 113 (9%) current smokers and 326 (25%) ex-smokers. Seven percent of the staff were current smokers compared with 19% of the patients. The Fagerstrom test showed that 47% of patients who smoked were moderately nicotine dependent compared with 21% of staff. A third of the staff who smoked did not anticipate health problems related to smoking. Most patients (79%) who smoked disagreed that their current health problems were related to smoking. Although more than half of the current smokers preferred pharmacotherapy, one in two of them did not prefer behavior counseling; with consistent results among staff and patients. Multivariate analyses showed that patients were three times more likely (odds ratio 3.0, 95% confidence interval 1.9-4.7) to smoke than staff.
Conclusion: This study reports lower prevalence of smoking among hospital staff compared with national data. It also indicates an under-appreciation of health effects of smoking, and a preference not to use conventional methods of quitting.
- Cross-sectional study
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