Attitudes of general practitioners and patients towards provision of opportunistic smoking cessation advice

JA Cleland, S. Lennox, H. Picnnock, M Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Smoking remains one of the greatest public health issues. Government guidelines advise that GPs provide brief opportunistic advice to all smokers whether or not they are seeking help with stopping. However, less than half of smokers remember being given advice in the previous five years. Why are GPs not providing opportunistic advice about smoking cessation to patients? What kind of smoking cessation advice do smokers want from their GPs?

This pilot project aimed to identify and explore factors that may be acting as barriers to the routine provision of opportunistic smoking cessation advice by GPs. The project focused on both GP and patient attitudes towards opportunistic smoking cessation advice.

This was a qualitative study utilising focus groups and individual interviews to interview GPs, patients who described themselves as smokers and patients who described themselves as ex-smokers. One focus group per category of participants was held (six-eight participants per group). In-depth interviews were conducted with four people from each category of participants (different individuals from those in the focus groups). Data was taped, transcribed and analysed using software for qualitative analysis.

The study highlighted attitudinal factors that may influence the provision of, and uptake of, opportunistic smoking cessation advice. Areas of common ground between GPs and patients were explored. Suggestions for possible effective, very brief low-cost intervention, acceptable to both the health care professional and the smoker which can be implemented routinely within the constraints of a general practice consultation, are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number56
JournalPrimary Care Respiratory Journal
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jun 2002
Publication statusPublished - 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'Attitudes of general practitioners and patients towards provision of opportunistic smoking cessation advice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this