Knowledge of nicotine dependence and treatment in clinical practice improved after an e-learning course among medical students
Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in developed countries and smokers should be encouraged to quit. Physicians are instrumental in this, but recent reports suggest inadequate training in medical school. We aimed to assess the knowledge of nicotine dependence and its treatment among Italian medical students.
Prospective observational study.
We developed an online course consisting of 11 Didactic Modules (6 for Tobacco Dependence I, TDI, and 5 for TDII) on nicotine dependence and treatment. The course was administered to 4th and 5th year medical students in Italy in Academic Years 2016-17 (Course A) and 2017-18 (Course B). A validated questionnaire was used before and after each part in order to measure knowledge of smoking epidemiology, health effects and benefits of giving up smoking (“Score 1”, TDI), and effectiveness of cessation treatments (“Score 2”, TDII).
324 students took both TDI and TDII and completed all questionnaires (Course A, n = 245; Course B, n = 79). 55 students were current smokers (17%). A significant increase in score 1 and 2 was observed at the end of both TDI (pre-course 47.2±13.1, post-course 66.0±12.3, p < 0.0001) and TDII (pre-course 55.6±11.5, post-course 68.1±10.9, p < 0.0001). The prevalence of students wishing for a smoke-free medical school significantly increased between the beginning of TDI (74.4%, 241/324) and the end of TDII (88%, 285/324; p <0.0001).
This e-learning course has proven to be an effective tool in teaching students on nicotine dependence and treatment