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Open Access Research

Nursing education and beliefs towards tobacco cessation and control: a cross- sectional national survey (GHPSS) among nursing students in Greece

Evridiki Patelarou12*, Constantine I Vardavas234*, Penelope Ntzilepi1, Charles W Warren5, Anastasia Barbouni6, Jenny Kremastinou6, Gregory N Connolly3 and Panagiotis Behrakis7

Author Affiliations

1 University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece

2 Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Greece

3 Center for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston MA, USA

4 Smoking and Lung Cancer Research Center, Hellenic Anticancer Society, Athens, Greece

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, Global Tobacco Control Program, Atlanta, GA, USA

6 National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece

7 School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece

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Tobacco Induced Diseases 2011, 9:4  doi:10.1186/1617-9625-9-4

Published: 6 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Within the healthcare system, nurses have the ability to influence their patients' smoking habits through counselling. Therefore, it is of great importance to appropriately train health professionals on smoking cessation strategies with the aim to help them provide advice to their patients. In light of the above, the objective of this study was to assess the association between Greek nursing students' beliefs towards tobacco control/smoking cessation and the professional training received.

Methods

During February 2009, we conducted a cross sectional national survey among all 3rd year nursing students of the two university based nursing departments in Greece (University of Athens, University of the Peloponnese). The Global Health Professional Student Survey (GHPSS) questionnaire was applied and following written informed consent 73% provided a completed questionnaire (n = 192/263 enrolled students).

Results

Overall, 33% were current active smokers, while 74% reported ever to experiment smoking. In regards to their beliefs towards tobacco control policies, non smokers were more positive in regards to banning smoking in restaurants (94% vs. 61%, p < 0.001), in bars and cafes (82% vs. 34%, p < 0.001), and all public places (93% vs. 51%, p < 0.001) when compared to current smokers. In comparison with students who had not received training on the importance of asking patients about their smoking habits, those that did were more likely to believe that nurses should have a role in smoking cessation and should act as role models for their patients.

Conclusions

Resources should be invested in improving the quality of undergraduate education in nursing departments in Greece with respect to tobacco control and smoking cessation.