Evidence-practice gaps for Australian general practitioners (GP) in assisting pregnant women to quit

Gillian Gould, Billie Bonevski, Kerrianne Watt, Laura Twyman, Marilyn Clarke, Yvonne Cadet-James, Lou Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background: Smoking prevalence among Indigenous pregnant women is high at 49%. Evidence-based smoking cessation interventions have not been effectively translated into the maternal Indigenous context. Aims: To explore GPs’ knowledge, attitudes and practices of managing smoking in pregnant women. Methods: A random sample of 500 members of the RACGP National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health were invited to anon-line survey. Inclusion criteria were GPs who consult with pregnant women. The response rate was low at 8% (N = 42), however alternative recruitment is ongoing. Results: One-third of the sample worked in Indigenous organisations; 62%of respondents were women. Most GPs (81%) always asked and gave brief advice about smoking in pregnancy. Less GPs (62%) always provided cessation support, assessed dependence (55%), discussed the psychosocial context of smoking (33%), followed up within 2 weeks (14%); 5% referred to the Quitline. Only 21% always recommended/prescribed nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), despite 93% agreeing that using NRT in pregnancy was safer than smoking; 71% believed NRT was moderately effective, and69% were confident to prescribe NRT. More GPs in Indigenous organisations, compared to mainstream, agreed that discussing smoking benefits their relationship with pregnant clients (p < 0.05). Discussing psychosocial contexts was positively associated with prescribing NRT (p < 0.05). Only10% GPs trained in smoking cessation for pregnancy; 83% agreed training was warranted, over two-thirds agreed access to oral NRT should be improved. Conclusions: Smoking cessation is a high priority for cancer prevention. NRT can be offered to pregnant smokers unable to quit. Low levels of assisted quitting may relate to scarcity of training for pregnancy, and policies governing access. Caution is advised due to small sample size. Translational research aspect: Training GPs in smoking cessation for pregnant women, and improving NRT access, may progress T2/3 translation of evidence-based methods for smokers in high prevalence groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPP11
Pages (from-to)8
Number of pages1
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue numberS5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Indigenous pregnant women
  • smoking cessation interventions
  • Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Aboriginal Health


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