Are primary health care providers prepared to implement an anti-smoking program in Syria?

Taghrid Asfar, Radwan Al-Ali, Kenneth D. Ward, Mark W.Vander Weg, Wasim Maziak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: To document primary health care (PHC) providers' tobacco use, and how this influences their smoking cessation practices and attitudes towards tobacco-control policies. Methods: Anonymous questionnaires were distributed to PHC providers in 7 randomly selected PHC centers in Aleppo, Syria. Results: All PHC providers completed the questionnaires (100% response rate). A quarter of these providers smoke cigarettes and more than 10% smoke waterpipes. Physicians who smoke were less likely to advise patients to quit (OR = 0.29; 95% CI, 0.09-0.95), assess their motivation to quit (OR = 0.13, 95% CI = 0.02-0.72), or assist them in quitting (OR = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.06-0.99). PHC providers who smoke were less likely to support a ban on smoking in PHC settings (68.2% vs. 89.1%) and in enclosed public places (68.2% vs. 86.1%) or increases in the price of tobacco products (43.2% vs. 77.4%) (P< 0.01 for all comparisons). Conclusions: Smoking, including waterpipe, continues to be widespread among PHC providers in Syria and will negatively influence implementation of anti-smoking program in PHC settings. Practice implications: Smoking awareness and cessation interventions targeted to PHC providers, and training programs to build providers' competency in addressing their patients' smoking is crucial in Syria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-205
Number of pages5
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antismoking policies
  • Health care providers
  • Primary health care
  • Smoking prevalence
  • Smoking-cessation practices
  • Waterpipe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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