Changes in smoking behaviour among physicians in Estonia in 1982-2014

"Background: Physicians play an important role in influencing patients' health behaviour. The personal smoking habits of physicians might have an effect on their views towards smoking cessation activities and their willingness to discuss smoking with patients. The aim of this study was to provide overview of changes of smoking behaviour among Estonian physicians in 1982-2014. Material and methods: Three cross-sectional postal surveys using self-administered questionnaire were carried out among physicians in Estonia. In 1982 3792, in 2002 2747, and in 2014 2892 economically active physicians participated in the study. Prevalence of smoking and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. The average and 95% CI were calculated for the age of initation of smoking. Results: The prevalence of current smoking among male physicians was 41.5% (95% CI 38.3-44.7%) in 1982, 24.6% (95% CI 20.7-28.5%) in 2002 and 14.8% (95% CI 11.8-17.9%) in 2014 and among female physicians 15.2% (95% CI 13.9-16.5%) in 1982, 10.2% (95% CI 9.0-11.5%) in 2002 and 6.4% (95% CI 5.4-7.4%) in 2014. In 1982-2014, the biggest decrease of current smoking among physicians was in less than 35-years-olds (from 55.1% to 16.7% for males and from 16.6% to 2.8% for females) and in the age group 35-44 (from 47.1% to 8.4% for males and from 19.5% to 5.1% for females). The average age of smoking onset for male physicians was 20.4 in 1982 and 18.9 in 2014, for female physicians 24.5 and 20.0, respectively. Keyword: Tobacco control, tobacco use: Behaviour change; Key messages: 1. Smoking among physicians, especially in young age groups, decreased during the last three decades in Estonia. 2. Compared to female physicians current smoking was significantly higher among male physicians over the study period. 3. Age of initation of smoking decreased in 1982-2014. "

Kersti Pärna