Smoking cessation counseling in Qatar: community pharmacists’ attitudes, role perceptions and practices
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- El Hajj, M.S., Al Nakeeb, R.R. & Al-Qudah, R.A. Int J Clin Pharm (2012) 34: 667. doi:10.1007/s11096-012-9663-x
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Background Smoking is a major public health problem in Qatar. The potential for community pharmacists to offer smoking cessation counseling in this country can be high. Objectives To determine the current smoking cessation practices of community pharmacists in Qatar, to examine their attitudes about tobacco use and smoking cessation, to evaluate their perceptions about performing professional roles with respect to smoking cessation and to assess their perceived barriers for smoking cessation counseling in the pharmacy setting in Qatar. Setting Community pharmacies in Qatar. Methods The objectives were addressed in a cross sectional survey of community pharmacists in Qatar from June 2010 to October 2010. A phone call was made to all community pharmacists in Qatar (318 pharmacists) inviting them to participate. Consenting pharmacists anonymously completed the survey either online or as paper using fax. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS®) Version 18. Main outcome measures Qatar community pharmacists’ smoking cessation practices, their attitudes toward tobacco use, smoking cessation and smoking cessation counseling and their perceived barriers for smoking cessation counseling. Results Over 5 months, we collected 127 surveys (40 % response rate). Only 21 % of respondents reported that they always or most of the time asked their patients if they smoke. When the patients’ smoking status was identified, advising quitting and assessing readiness to quit were always or most of the time performed by 66 and 52 % of respondents respectively. Only 15 % always or most of the time arranged follow-up with smokers and 22 % always or most of the time made smoking cessation referrals. Most respondents (>80 %) agreed that smoking could cause adverse health effects and that smoking cessation could decrease the risk of these effects. In addition, the majority (>80 %) believed that smoking cessation counseling was an important activity and was an efficient use of their time. The top two perceived barriers for smoking cessation counseling were lack of time (65 % of respondents) and lack of patients’ interest in smoking cessation (54 %). Conclusions Qatar community pharmacists have positive attitudes toward smoking cessation counseling. These attitudes need to be translated into action. Interventions should be implemented to overcome perceived barriers and to improve smoking cessation activities among pharmacists.