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NHS hospitals must help patients quit smoking, says British Thoracic Society

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6571 (Published 07 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6571

Doctors as role models for smoking cessation among patients

Doctors and other health care professionals are aware of the consequences of smoking and using tobacco products in any form. Awareness is not necessarily the motivating factor for quitting use of tobacco products and smoking. Many health care professionals indulge in the habit themselves instead of quitting the habit. This is of serious concern while talking about tobacco cessation programmes in hospitals. The problem with smoking or use of tobacco products is that users don't take it seriously and hence health care providers also neglect counselling smokers or tobacco users. Moreover, the ill effects of smoking and tobacco use are not obvious within a short span. It takes years for the signs and symptoms to develop. By that time the patients get addicted and cannot resolve the problem easily.

The role of heath care providers specially lies in motivating patients to quit smoking. If they themselves are in the net of smoking or tobacco use, how can they counsel patients? They should be a role model themselves, quitting the habit and showing that they can also quit, and this way patients can be motivated. Counselling should be part of the treatment irrespective of any other factors contributing to the illness. Doctors should proactively contribute in getting rid of the problem related to tobacco use in any form.

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 December 2016
Mongjam Meghachandra; co-author - Reeta Devi SINGH
Director-Professor, co-author- Assistant Professor
Reeta Devi
Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi; co-author: School of Health Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi; co-author: School of Health Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi