Smoking contributes to a high number of the health problems leading to hospitalisation, particularly malignancies, vasculatory diseases and respiratory illness. Moreover, the risk associated with surgical procedures during hospitalisation is increased by smoking. In accordance, hospitalisation provides an excellent opportunity for counseling as many patients are more susceptible for quitting advice during a hospital stay (Rigotti et al., 2012). Thus, it is mandatory that every physician is capable of smoking cessation counseling by the use of evaluated methods such as the 5A (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange).
However, recent publications have shown that smoking cessation counseling is neglected in the teaching curriculum of many medical schools worldwide. For instance, the median scheduled teaching time on smoking and cessation during the 5-year undergraduate curriculum is only 135 min (range 30–720min) in Germany (Strobel et al., 2012). This neglection is accompanied by false beliefs on smoking cessation of final year medical students in Germany (Raupach et al., 2013). Accordingly, a lack of education is assumed to be one of the reasons why only two in five patients with a cardiovascular condition receive cessation counseling during their stay in a German hospital (Raupach, Merker, Hasenfuss, Andreas, & Pipe, 2011).
Current and past actions taken by EAT
Medical students of EAT are conducting a multicenter study in Germany since September 2014 in strong collaboration with experts on tobacco cessation and medical education research. The goal of the study is to evaluate a novel, standardised and cost-effective measure for adequate practical and theoretical teaching of smoking cessation. The designed courses have been implemented at five medical schools in the fall of 2014. Fortunately, our efforts already pay off: Over a hundred German medical students received research-based education and the designed course has been implemented at a total of seven German medical schools as a consequence of our research-based approach:
University of Heidelberg, University of Frankfurt, Charité Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Jena, University of Gießen and University of Homburg. Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Tobias Raupach and Titus J. Brinker. Collaborating investigators: Janina Suhre, Julia Holzapfel, Fabian Fries, Nadine Farivar and Albert Omlor. Here you can see a couple of pictures of the participating medical students within the EAT courses from various medical schools:
As a network we want to support all international efforts of EAT medical students trying to improve the medical education on tobacco prevention and cessation in collaboration with international experts within our scientific advisory board. We will continue to advocate evaluated medical education on these topics and hope for local support from faculty members.