Attitudes and behaviour of ophthalmologists to smoking cessation

Anjana Sahu, R. Edwards, Roger Harrison, J. Thornton, SP Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growing evidence suggests a causal association between smoking and eye disease. This study explores the current beliefs and practice among UK consultant ophthalmologists towards delivering smoking cessation advice to eye clinic attenders.

A cross-sectional survey using a postal questionnaire of all UK NHS hospital based consultant ophthalmologists was conducted. The questionnaire explored whether: ophthalmologists identify the smoking status of their patients, advise about the increased risk of eye diseases among smokers, and deliver smoking cessation advice. The availability of departmental smoking cessation resources was also ascertained.

The response rate was 55% (485/886). Of the responders 79% were males. Only 35% of responders asked about smoking status every time or most times for new patients and 5% for follow-up patients. In all, 40% claimed to always or usually advise patients to quit smoking and 61% claimed to always or usually mention eye disease as a reason to quit. Only 14% assessed motivation to quit and 22% provided advice and assistance about how to stop smoking to smokers who wished to quit. Female ophthalmologists were more likely to undertake most aspects of smoking assessment and intervention. Only 18% of responders stated that their departments provide information about smoking for patients and 6% stated that support is available for patients wanting to quit smoking.

The assessment of smoking status and provision of targeted support for smokers to quit could be substantially improved in UK ophthalmology departments. There is a need to introduce smoking cessation support into routine ophthalmic practice and provide the resources to support this.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberE-pub
Pages (from-to)246-250
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2008


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