A survey of healthcare professionals found that in 2010-11, current smoking among this group, except for licensed practical nurses, was lower than the general population.
The majority of healthcare professionals never smoked, according to the survey results, which were published in the Jan. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Smoking by healthcare professionals is a barrier to tobacco interventions with patients, according to background information in the article. From 2003 to 2006-07, smoking prevalences among healthcare professionals demonstrated no significant declines.
Linda Sarna, RN, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a study to assess changes in smoking status among healthcare professionals. The researchers obtained publicly available data from self-respondents to the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey to compare smoking prevalences among healthcare professionals from 2003 to 2010-11. Occupations included physicians, RNs, LPNs, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and dental hygienists. Smoking status was defined as never smokers, former smokers and current smokers.
The 2010-11 survey data from 2,975 healthcare professionals indicated that approximately 8% were current smokers, ranging from 2% among physicians to 25% among LPNs (the rate of current smoking among the general population is 16%).
The only significant changes in proportions of those who quit by profession from 2006-07 to 2010-11 were among RNs (a 13% increase) and among LPNs (a 30% decrease).
Recent declines in smoking among healthcare professionals may reflect the impact of national tobacco control policies and efforts focused on reducing smoking among registered nurses, the authors wrote. “Continued smoking and diminished quitting among licensed practical nurses remains a serious concern.
Study access (via subscription or purchase): http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1812944