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Health-Care Provider Screening for Tobacco Smoking and Advice to Quit—17 Countries, 2008–2011

This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being updated.

November 22, 2013 / Vol. 62 / No. 46

MMWR Introduction


Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable disease and death and a global public health problem. This report examines the proportion of tobacco smokers from the Global Adult Tobacco Surveys (GATS) who saw a health care provider in the past year and who reported that a health care provider asked them about smoking and advised them to quit. Participating countries are Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

During the past 12 months, the proportion of smokers who visited a health care provider ranged from 21.6% in Egypt to 62.3% in Poland. Among these, the proportion reporting that a health care provider asked if they smoked ranged from 34.9% in Vietnam to 82.1% in Romania. Among those whose smoking was screened, those who reported their health care providers advised them to quit ranged from 17.3% in Mexico to 67.3% in Romania.

Across the 17 countries, the number of current and former smokers who visited a health care provider and were asked about tobacco smoking, and advised to quit was low. Our findings highlight the importance of putting into action community-based strategies and clinical interventions that increase cessation.

Opportunities exist globally for health care providers to screen for tobacco smoking status and provide smokers with advice to quit. Health care providers should screen all patients for tobacco use, and for those who use tobacco, provide advice to quit, offer assistance (i.e., counseling and medications), and arrange for follow-up.