Knowledge, attitudes, and willingness of community pharmacy staff in Mures County, Romania, to provide the brief advice to stop smoking: A cross-sectional study

DOI: 10.2478/amma-2023-0030

Background and objective: Providing brief advice to stop smoking (BASS) can significantly increase motivation to quit, long-term smoking cessation rates, and substantially impact public health. The study aimed to evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and willingness of community pharmacy staff in Mures County, Romania, to provide BASS to smokers.
Methods: The observational, cross-sectional study included a sample of 96 professionals working in community pharmacies in Mures County, Romania. Data were collected using an online questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Results: Generally, more than 90% of the respondents acknowledged that smoking is addictive, represents a health hazard, and increases the risk of lung and laryngeal cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart attack, and stroke. Up to 70% of the respondents recognized the most common scientifically proven quit medications, such as nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion, and varenicline. Most pharmacists agreed that they should regularly ask the patients about their smoking status and encourage smokers to quit. They also declared they should receive continual education regarding quit services, medications, and techniques. BASS was credited with very high efficacy by 17.1%, high efficacy by 26.8%, and moderate efficacy by 46.3% of the respondents. The most common perceived barriers to providing BASS in community pharmacies were lack of demand from smokers (78.0%), lack of time (73.2%), and lack of educational materials (39.0%). About 70% of the pharmacists received no formal training regarding quit services, but more than 75% were interested in earning such a qualification. About 65% of the respondents estimated they could dedicate 10-15 minutes of their daily working time to provide BASS to interested customers. Conclusions: Overall, the study found an acceptable level of knowledge and willingness of the participants in offering BASS, suggesting that a program to provide BASS in Mures County community pharmacies may be feasible and useful.

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