Doctors' behaviour & skills for tobacco cessation in Kerala

K. R. Thankappan, A. S. Pradeepkumar, Mark Nichter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background & objectives: Several studies have shown that health professionals' advice for tobacco cessation to tobacco users enhances quit rate. Little is known about doctor's present tobacco cessation efforts in India. We examined doctors' reported inquiry into patient's use of tobacco and assessed their perceived need for training in tobacco cessation. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Kerala to collect information on doctor's practices, skills and perceived need for training in tobacco cessation. Pre-tested structured questionnaires were distributed in person to 432 male and 89 female doctors, of whom 264 male and 75 female doctors responded. Results: One third of all the doctors surveyed reported that they always ask patients about tobacco use, three fourths advise all patients routinely to quit irrespective of the smoking status of patients and one tenth offered useful information on how to quit. About 15 per cent reported they received information from medical representatives, 32 per cent reported they had sufficient training and 80 per cent expressed interest in receiving training to help smokers quit. Majority of all doctors surveyed most commonly asked and advised patients to quit tobacco when patients had lung, heart, mouth disease or cancer. Interpretation & conclusions: Most doctors inquired about tobacco use from a minority of their patients, though many reported to advise patients about quitting even without inquiring about their tobacco use status. There are several missed opportunities to promote quitting at a time when patients are motivated to listen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-255
Number of pages7
JournalIndian Journal of Medical Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Behaviour of doctors
  • Kerala
  • Tobacco cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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