STUDENTS' ATTITUDES TOWARDS PATIENT SMOKING STATUS DURING ENROLLMENT IN A PULMONARY REHABILITATION PROGRAM
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The harmful effects of nicotine products are well documented, especially cigarettes. Due to the addictive nature of nicotine, it is often difficult for people who smoke to quit successfully without the help of cessation education and pharmacological assistance. It is imperative that students understand how tobacco affects the body, their role in smoking interventions, and the role that pulmonary rehabilitation plays in smoking cessation. This study was performed to understand the attitudes of students in the healthcare fields associated with pulmonary rehabilitation regarding enrollment into a pulmonary rehabilitation program with patients who smoke. An email was sent to two department heads of the colleges/universities from each of the healthcare professional groups that stated the purpose of the study and a request to forward the email to the student body. Colleges/universities which house these professions were asked to participate if they had a baccalaureate degree program, total student population > 5,000, were a public university, and presence within Texas. Results were obtained from a subject pool of 114 participants, the majority of which were from the fields of respiratory therapy (n = 58) and physical therapy (n = 51). As age increased, students were less likely to allow patients who smoke to enroll in a pulmonary rehabilitation program (18- 22: 78.6% agree/strongly agree; 23-27: 65.5% agree/strongly agree; 28-32: 66.7% agree/strongly agree; 33-37: 62.5% agree/strongly agree; >37: 53.8% agree/strongly agree). Females were more likely to agree/strongly agree with allowing a patient who smokes to enroll in a pulmonary rehabilitation program (72.5% > 47.8%). Students that vi are current smokers (75% agree/strongly agree) and those that quit 1-3 years ago (88.9% agree/strongly agree) were more likely to allow patients who smoke to enroll in a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Those that were more likely to allow patients who smoke to enroll in a pulmonary rehabilitation program were 18-22 year old females who previously smoked 1-3 years ago.