Attitudes of community optometrists to smoking cessation: An untapped opportunity overlooked?

C. Thompson, R. A. Harrison, S. C. Wilkinson, A. Scott-Samuel, C. Hemmerdinger, S. P. Kelly

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Aim: To assess community optometrists' attitudes and current behaviour regarding provision of smoking cessation advice in their practice. Methods: A self-completion postal questionnaire was sent to community optometrists in north-west England identified from the General Optical Council's practice lists. Results: Of 709 optometrists identified, 71.8% (509/709) returned the completed questionnaire. Few community optometrists routinely asked about smoking habits: only 6.2% (95% CI: 4.1-8.3) (n = 31) at new patient consultations, and 2.2% (95% CI: 0.9-3.5) (n = 11) at follow-up visits. Reasons for optometrists not routinely providing smoking cessation advice included: not their role (35.4%, n = 180), lack of time (22.0%, n = 112) and forgetting to ask (21.4%, n = 109). Overall 67.6% (95% CI: 63.5-71.7) (n = 344) of community optometrists wanted to improve their knowledge of smoking and visual impairment with 56.2% (95% CI: 51.9-60.5) (n = 286) requesting further training. Conclusion: Despite low levels of current involvement, many optometrists were keen to receive training on smoking cessation topics. We suggest that there are untapped opportunities to develop brief interventions to promote smoking cessation services in community optometry settings. © 2007 The Authors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)389-393
    Number of pages4
    JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


    • Attitudes
    • Health promotion
    • Optometrists
    • Public health
    • Smoking cessation
    • Training


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