Tobacco Use, Exposure to Secondhand Smoke, and Cessation Counseling Among Health Professions Students: Greek Data from the Global Health Professions Student Survey (GHPSS)
AuthorBarbouni, A.; Hadjichristodoulou, C.; Merakou, K.; Antoniadou, E.; Kourea, K.; Miloni, E.; Warren, C. W.; Rahiotis, G.; Kremastinou, J.
We conducted the GHPSS (Global Health Professions Student Survey) to obtain information regarding health profession students' smoking habits and perceptions, exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) as well as level of knowledge and training on tobacco use and smoking cessation counseling. GHPSS is a survey for third-year students in the following fields: health visitors, dentistry, medicine, nursing and/or pharmacy. The highest tobacco use prevalence rate and exposure to SHS were recorded among health visitor students with 46.4% and 33.3% respectively. The majority of the respondents believed that their profession serves as a role model for their patients. Formal training on cessation counseling ranged between 10.7% for health visitor students to 22.4% for nursing students. The relatively high percentage of health profession students who currently smoke and the alarmingly high percentage of those exposed to SHS indicate lack of concerted efforts for implementation and effective enforcement of the anti-tobacco policy measures. Despite its significance, formal training on cessation counseling for students is strikingly low. These results indicate the urgent need to train health professional students on tobacco cessation counseling and educate them on the dangers of tobacco use, SHS and the positively influential role they can play to affect their patients' smoking habits.