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Keywords:

  • Tobacco use cessation;
  • training;
  • world health

ABSTRACT

Aims  The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires countries to implement tobacco dependence treatment programs. To provide treatment effectively, a country needs trained individuals to deliver these services. We report on the global status of programs that train individuals to provide tobacco dependence treatment.

Design  Cross-sectional web-based survey of tobacco treatment training programs in a stratified convenience sample of countries chosen to vary by WHO geographic region and World Bank income level.

Participants  Key informants in 48 countries; 70% of 69 countries who were sent surveys responded.

Measurements  Program prevalence, frequency, duration and size; background of trainees; content (adherence to pre-defined core competencies); funding sources; challenges.

Findings  We identified 61 current tobacco treatment training programs in 37 (77%) of 48 countries responding to the survey. Three-quarters of them began in 2000 or later, and 40% began after 2003, when the FCTC was adopted. Programs estimated training 14 194 individuals in 2007. Training was offered to a variety of professionals and paraprofessionals, but most often to physicians and nurses. Median program duration was 16 hours, but programs' duration, intensity and size varied widely. Most programs used evidence-based guidelines and reported adherence to core tobacco treatment competencies. Training programs were less frequent in low-income countries and in Africa. Securing funding was the major challenge for most programs; current funding sources were government (58%), non-government organizations (23%), pharmaceutical companies (17%) and, in one case, the tobacco industry.

Conclusion  Training programs for tobacco treatment providers are diverse and growing. Most upper- and middle-income countries have programs, and most programs appear to be evidence-based. However, funding is a major challenge. In particular, more programs are needed for non-physicians and for low-income countries.