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Prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use disorders in Polish primary care settings

Linda Baier Manwell, Marek Ignaczak, Jan C. Czabala
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/12.2.139 139-144 First published online: 1 June 2002


Background: Primary care settings are an ideal system in which to identify and treat tobacco and alcohol use disorders. This project surveyed patients from the offices of 20 Polish primary care clinicians to ascertain the prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use by gender and age. Methods: A total of 4373 adults aged 18–80 years seeking routine care completed a nurse‐administered Health Screening Survey as part of a clinical trial designed to assess the efficacy of brief physician advice on heavy alcohol use. Results: Of the 4373 subjects screened, 44.4% reported cigarette use within the past three months. Most perceived smoking as a problem and had considered reducing their tobacco use. A stepwise model to examine factors that predict smoking status found that alcohol consumption was the best predictor of current cigarette use. Alcohol consumption was common, with 64% of the subjects reporting some use within the previous three months. Of these, 55% were classified as low risk drinkers, 14% as at‐risk drinkers, 12% as problem drinkers, and 19% as dependent drinkers. Conclusion: This is the first report on the combined prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use disorders in a sample of persons attending community‐based primary care clinics in Poland. This report confirms the high prevalence of these problems and suggests that patients will accurately complete a screening test such as the Health Screening Survey. The methods employed for this study provide the Polish health care system with a procedure to effectively screen patients for tobacco and alcohol use disorders.

  • alcohol; Poland; primary care; tobacco

Received 23 January 2001. Accepted 3 May 2001.