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SPH Researchers Publish in Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Journal

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The Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) published an article titled “Smoking Cessation Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice Among Tuberculosis Physicians: A Qualitative Study” in the international peer-reviewed journal Tobacco Prevention and Cessation. The authors of the article are SPH faculty and researchers Arusyak Harutyunyan, MD (MPH ’09), Armine Abrahamyan (MPH ’15), Zaruhi Grigoryan (MPH ’15), Varduhi Hayrumyan, MS, (MPH ’16), Nune Truzyan, DVM, (MPH ’03), and Varduhi Petrosyan, MS, PhD.

The article explored tuberculosis (TB) physicians’ knowledge of, as well as attitude and practice in interventions for smoking cessation in their TB patients. A qualitative study was conducted among 21 inpatient and outpatient TB physicians from Yerevan, Syunik, and Gegharkunik marzes. The study was conducted within the scope of a collaborative project with the National Pulmonology Center and the National Tobacco Control Program to outline the current needs and future directions for joint TB and tobacco control actions. 

The results of the study suggested that TB physicians had insufficient knowledge and skills on smoking cessation and inconsistent attitudes toward the importance of implementing smoking cessation interventions among TB patients. The study revealed that physicians acknowledge the importance of quitting for better treatment outcomes and decreased risk of TB relapse (Knowledge). Physicians reported that presumed drug interactions, possible side effects of pharmacotherapy, and reluctance to take additional medications are challenges of smoking cessation interventions among TB patients (Attitude). Physicians also mentioned that though they ask about patients’ smoking behavior and provide them with some guidance for quitting, the implementation of cessation support is limited due to the lack of knowledge of evidence-based cessation methods and the absence of formal tobacco dependence treatment algorithms within TB care (Practice)

The findings on TB physicians’ knowledge, attitude, and practice might have practical implications for designing targeted interventions, both locally and globally, for the advancement of joint TB and tobacco control efforts in accordance with international recommendations. During 2017-2019, using the main findings of this study, the SPH research team designed, implemented, and evaluated a set of interventions that targeted integrated policy development, capacity building for TB healthcare providers and facilities to offer smoking cessation counseling and establishment of smoke-free environments in Armenia.

The study was funded by a grant, presented by Global Bridges Healthcare Alliance for Tobacco Dependence Treatment, hosted by Mayo Clinic and Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning and Change.

The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and beyond through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.

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