Tobacco use declining among doctors in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The main findings of a study on the use of tobacco and tobacco products among medical doctors in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia found declining prevalence over the past decade, but mixed attitudes toward communicating with patients about tobacco cessation.

Results of the study were launched on World No Tobacco Day, 30 May 2014, at an expert meeting and press conference hosted by the WHO Country Office in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Medical Faculty, Institute for Social Medicine.

Professor Dr Mome Spasovski, Head of the Institute for Social Medicine, Medical Faculty Skopje, University St Kiril and Metodij, which conducted the study, presented its key findings.

  • Smoking prevalence among medical doctors in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia declined from 42% in 1999 to 29% in 2013.
  • Cigarette smoking is more prevalent among male doctors.
  • More than 32% of medical doctors in the study stated that someone smoked in their workplace.
  • None of the respondents reported using nicotine replacement to quit smoking cigarettes.
  • 19% responded negatively to the question "Do health workers need to advise patients who smoke cigarettes to quit?"
  • 35% stated that doctors who are smokers themselves advise their patients to quit smoking cigarettes less often than other medical doctors.
  • Almost 80% think patients will be more likely to quit cigarette smoking if their doctor advises them to do so.
  • More than 46% stated that during their education they did not learn about the need to use educational materials to help patients quit smoking.
  • 62% had not heard of using antidepressants in smoking cessation programmes.

World No Tobacco Day

The annual campaign’s motto for 2014 “Raise tobacco tax, decrease death and diseases”, highlighted the health risks associated with tobacco use and the need for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Ms Snezana Chichevalieva, Head of the WHO Country Office conveyed the World No Tobacco Day message at the meeting and press conference, and commended the Government’s continuous efforts towards tobacco control and prevention.

The meeting was also attendd by Professor Nikola Jankulovski, Dean of the Medical Faculty in Skopje; Professor Mome Spasovski, Head of the Institute for Social Medicine, Medical Faculty Skopje; Professor Jordan Minov, Institute for Occupational Health, Medical Faculty Skopje and the WHO Collaborative Centre for Occupational Health; and Dr Kiro Salvani, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health. The event was broadly covered by national media.