Impact of a brief tobacco cessation training programme on the practices of healthcare professionals
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College of Arts, Science and Technology and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate, Malta
Publication date: 2021-12-10
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):37
Many smokers want to quit, however most do not succeed on their own. The provision of brief tobacco cessation support following the 5As (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange) algorithm has been found to increase the likelihood of a quitting attempt, yet the delivery of routine brief tobacco cessation interventions by health professionals in Europe remains low . Health professionals reportedly lack the knowledge and the required skills to help smokers quit.

To assess the impact of a brief tobacco cessation training program on health professionals’ smoking cessation practices.

An already established questionnaire was used to compare healthcare professionals’ (n= 133) practices before and at three months after attending a three hour training program in Malta between September 2018 and June 2019 The program addressed tobacco use and tobacco cessation with emphasis on the 5As algorithm.

Sixty-three participants submitted their follow-up questionnaire (47.4% response rate). Participants were significantly more likely to “assist”, “arrange”, recommend the use of the telephone quitline for smoking cessation, refer patients to tobacco cessation resources in the community, provide recommendations for smoking cessation medications, and review barriers to quitting at follow-up. The increase in the delivery of tobacco cessation practices varied by profession; doctors, followed by allied health professionals (professionals complementary to medicine) were more likely to report a significant increase in the delivery of brief tobacco cessation interventions.

This study has shown that health professionals who attend a brief tobacco cessation training program are more likely to comprehensively address tobacco use, as is recommended in international tobacco cessation guidelines. Furthermore, this study highlights the potential role allied health professionals or professionals complementary to medicine can play in tobacco control through the provision of brief tobacco cessation interventions in their clinical practice, calling for more training initiatives for such professionals.

No Conflicts of Interest were reported.
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