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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
 
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 816.
Published online Sep 21, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-816
PMCID: PMC3503788
Health policymakers’ knowledge and opinions of physicians smoking and tobacco policy control in Lao PDR
Vanphanom Sychareun,corresponding author1 Alongkone Phengsavanh,1 Visanou Hansana,1 Sysavanh Phommachanh,1 Mayfong Mayxay,1 and Tanja Tomson2
1Faculty of Postgraduate Studies & Research, University of Health Sciences, P.O. Box 7444, Vientiane, Lao PDR
2Department of Public Health Sciences, Norrbacka,2nd floor, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Vanphanom Sychareun: vsychareun/at/gmail.com; Alongkone Phengsavanh: ogalk/at/yahoo.com; Visanou Hansana: visanou65/at/yahoo.com; Sysavanh Phommachanh: sysavanhp/at/yahoo.com; Mayfong Mayxay: mayfong/at/tropmedres.ac; Tanja Tomson: tanja.tomson/at/ki.se
Received May 28, 2012; Accepted September 18, 2012.
Abstract
Background
In 2007, a regulation on smoke-free health facilities and institutions was adopted by the Lao government. Little is known about health policymakers’ knowledge and opinions regarding tobacco policy control, including physicians’ behaviour. This paper aims to describe the knowledge of Lao health policymakers and their opinions regarding physicians tobacco use and national smoking policy control.
Methods
In 2007, we made a qualitative explorative study with data from a purposive sample of 18 key informants through semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. The key informants, who were heads of departments, directors of hospitals and directors of centres, mainly worked at the national level, and some provincial levels. Content analysis was used.
Results
Policymakers perceived the inadequate implementation of a smoke-free regulation and policy as being a barrier and that the general public may not accept physicians smoking, since they are regarded as role models. Most of the respondents mentioned that regulations or laws related to control of smoking in health institutions are available in Laos, but they lacked detailed knowledge of them probably because regulations as well as the smoke-free policy documents were not widely disseminated. The respondents agreed that anti-smoking education should be integrated in the training curricula, especially in the medical schools, and that the provision of counselling on health consequences from smoking and methods of smoking cessation was important.
Conclusion
This study contributes to tobacco policy evidence and to knowledge regarding factors related to the uptake of evidence into policymaking. Dissemination and implementation of a tobacco control policy nationally, and integration of tobacco cessation training programs in the curricula were found to be productive approaches for improvement.
Keywords: Health policymaker, Opinion, Smoking, Medical doctor, Low-income country
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