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Abstract

Despite various strategies and efforts exerted in the form of awareness campaigns, health conferences, targeted advertisements and laws, the prevalence of smoking is alarmingly increasing for both genders in Lebanon. Because of the ease of accessibility, community pharmacists are ideally positioned to help their patients quit smoking. The current study aims to assess the Lebanese pharmacists’ practices in counseling their patients on smoking cessation. A cross-sectional study targeting community pharmacists in Beirut was conducted during June 2017 to September 2017. The adopted questionnaire was designed based on the WHO approved 5A’s toolkit program for delivering brief tobacco interventions in primary care. Results were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences program (SPSS) version 20 and Mega Stat. Our results showed that, for most of the survey questions, the performance of fresh pharmacy graduates (having less than 5 years of practice experience) and senior pharmacists (having 6-10 years of practice experience) with regards to counseling patients on smoking cessation using was not statistically different compared to that of older pharmacists (having more than 10 years of practice experience). In a similar pattern to that obtained concerning the length of professional experience, the participating pharmacist in our study, irrespective to their graduating universities, displayed inconsistent practices during counselling their patients on smoking cessation. Interestingly, the presence of on-duty assistance to the participating pharmacists during their practice shift was shown to be significant (P< 0.05 for all questions) in helping them provide their smoking patients proper counselling on smoking cessation. In conclusion, our study highlighted the discrepancy in the participating community pharmacists’ practices relevant to their ability to provide their smoking patients with appropriate smoking cessation services. In order to address the current situation, well-planned, structured interventions at both educational and professional levels should be made as a priority.

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