Qualified nurses’ smoking prevalence: their reasons for smoking and desire to quit

Authors


Hugh McKenna, Head of School of Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, County Antrim BT37 0QB, UK. E-mail: hp.mckenna@ulst.ac.uk

Abstract

Qualified nurses’ smoking prevalence: their reasons for smoking and desire to quit

Aim and rationale. The preventable nature of smoking related diseases places a major responsibility for health promotion on all health professionals. This study used a questionnaire to survey qualified nurses in Northern Ireland as to smoking prevalence and their desire to quit the habit. It also explores their knowledge base relating to smoking related diseases and their motivation to act as health promoters with patients who smoke.

Methods. A random sample (n=1074) of qualified nurses employed by the Health and Social Services Trusts, private, and voluntary organizations in the province were surveyed.

Results. Results show that 25·8% were smokers, 19% were ex-smokers and 55·2% were nonsmokers. Three quarters expressed a wish to stop within 6-months. Almost all smokers and half of ex-smokers had taken up the habit prior to commencing nursing. ‘Addiction’ and ‘enjoyment’ were given as the principle reasons for continued smoking. Health reasons were paramount in smokers’ desire to stop smoking.

Conclusions. These findings suggest that smoking prevalence among qualified nurses in no greater than that reported by females in the general Northern Ireland population. Results also indicate that those nurses who smoke were less willing to take on the role of a health promoter with patients who smoke. Implications and recommendations for practice, education and research are explored.

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