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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 516734, 8 pages
Research Article

Knowledge, Attitudes, and Smoking Behaviours among Physicians Specializing in Public Health: A Multicentre Study

1Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
2Department of Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples, Via Luciano Armanni 5, 80138 Naples, Italy
3Department of Environmental and Public Health, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy
4Department of Science of Public Health, University of Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 287, 41100 Modena, Italy
5Department of Medicine and Public Health, University of Bologna, Via S. Giacomo 12, 40126 Bologna, Italy
6Department of Medicine and Public Health, Virology, University of Milano, Via Pascal 38, 20133 Milan, Italy
7Department of Clinical Medicine and Prevention, University of Milano Bicocca, Via Cadore, 48, 20052 Monza, Italy
8Department of Biomedicine Science, Section of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Ancona, Via Tronto 10/a, 60020 Ancona, University of Ancona, Italy
9Department of Public Health, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Via Orazio Raimondo 18, 00173 Rome, Rome, Italy
10Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Ferrara, Via Fossato di Mortara 64b, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
11Department of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health (R. De Blasi), University of Messina, Italy
12Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Varese, Insubria, Via Ravasi 2, 21100 Varese, Italy
13Department of Public Health, University of Perugia, Via Roma 84, 06019 Perugia, Italy
14Department of Physiopathology, Experimental Medicine and Public Health, University of Siena, Via Aldo Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy
15Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine (Gaetano Salvatore), University of Catanzaro, Via T. Campanella 115, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy
16Department of Preventive Medicine-Section of Hygiene, University of Pavia, Via Forlanini 2, 27100 Pavia, Italy
17Section of Hygiene, Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, University of Bari, Piazza Giulio Cesare 11, 70124 Bari, Italy
18Institute of Hygiene, University “Cattolica del Sacro Cuore” of Rome, Via Ippolito Nievo 36, 00153 Rome, Italy
19Section of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Via dell’Artigliere 8, 31129 Verona, University of Verona, Italy
20Department of Medicine and Aging Science, University “G. Annunzio” Chieti, Via dei Vestini 33, 66100 Chieti, Italy
21Department “G. F. Ingrassia” Hygiene and Public Health, University of Catania, Via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
22Department of Public Health and Microbiology, University of Turin, Via Santena 5 bis, 10126 Torino, Italy
23Section of Hygiene, Department of Science Preventive Medicine, University of Napoli Federico II, Via Tommaso Campanella 115, 88100 Napoli, Italy
24Department of Health Promotion Science (G. D’Alessandro), University of Palermo, Via Del Vespro 133, 90127 Palermo, Italy

Received 8 February 2014; Revised 1 May 2014; Accepted 8 May 2014; Published 3 June 2014

Academic Editor: Maria Caterina Grassi

Copyright © 2014 Giuseppe La Torre et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Healthcare professionals have an important role to play both as advisers—influencing smoking cessation—and as role models. However, many of them continue to smoke. The aims of this study were to examine smoking prevalence, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours among four cohorts physicians specializing in public health, according to the Global Health Profession Students Survey (GHPSS) approach. Materials and Methods. A multicentre cross-sectional study was carried out in 24 Italian schools of public health. The survey was conducted between January and April 2012 and it was carried out a census of students in the selected schools for each years of course (from first to fourth year of attendance), therefore among four cohorts of physicians specializing in Public Health (for a total of n. 459 medical doctors). The GHPSS questionnaires were self-administered via a special website which is created ad hoc for the survey. Logistic regression model was used to identify possible associations with tobacco smoking status. Hosmer-Lemeshow test was performed. The level of significance was . Results. A total of 388 answered the questionnaire on the website (85%), of which 81 (20.9%) declared to be smokers, 309 (79.6%) considered health professionals as behavioural models for patients, and 375 (96.6%) affirmed that health professionals have a role in giving advice or information about smoking cessation. Although 388 (89.7%) heard about smoking related issues during undergraduate courses, only 17% received specific smoking cessation training during specialization. Conclusions. The present study highlights the importance of focusing attention on smoking cessation training, given the high prevalence of smokers among physicians specializing in public health, their key role both as advisers and behavioural models, and the limited tobacco training offered in public health schools.