Smoking Cessation Unit, NRITLD, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistic, Institute of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Health Services
Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, TEHRAN-IRAN.
Background: The medical community has a special role both in preventing and controlling smoking. According to research studies conducted in many countries, many medical staff members are smoker themselves and there is a significant correlation between the rate of smoking in physicians and smoking in the society. Considering the fact that we did not have such information in regard in our society, this study was conducted nationwide to evaluate smoking and its related diseases among members of the Iranian Medical Council. A cross sectional, descriptive study was done by sending questionnaires in accordance with standard criteria from World Health Organization (WHO) and International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). The population under study were all Medical Council members, 80000 people in number. Materials and Methods: This study was conducted in 2003 by sending the questionnaires via the Journal of the Iranian Medical Council to all members. The answers were sent back by prepaid envelopes via express mail. Results: Data obtained from 3270 returned questionnaires indicated that 13.1% of the population under study were smokers. This number did not show any significant difference compared to the rate of smoking in the society (12.5% in the year 2000). However, smoking in 19.6% of the male physicians and 5.5% of female physicians showed a significant difference as compared with the rate of smoking in males and females in the society (25.2% in males and 2.5% in females in the year 2000).Also, 16.6% of general physicians, 12.5% of pharmacists, 12.5% of dentists, 10.6% of specialists, 18.2% of nurses, 1.4% of midwives, and 4.7% of other medical personnel were smokers. The most common age at which smoking was started was 18 yrs in 31%. It must be mentioned that 10.5%of people had started smoking before the age of 15. In 39.6%, they were suffering from various related diseases. This rate was 37.2%, 46.4% and 45% in non-smokers, exsmokers and smokers respectively (p=0.00). Conclusion: In smokers, the rate of smoking-related diseases increases with an increase in the number of cigarettes smoked daily; as 28.2% of the people who smoke less than 10 cigarettes per day are sick. This rate is 44.6% in persons who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day (p=0.00). The obtained results are useful in smoking control training programs for the medical community and health priorities nationwide. (Tanaffos 2005; 4(16): 63-67)