Objective. To compare smoking habits and attitudes towards smoking among Estonian and Finnish physicians.
Methods. A cross-sectional postal survey using a self-administered questionnaire was carried out among 2480 Estonian and 2075 Finnish physicians.
Results. The prevalence of daily smoking was higher among Estonian physicians than among their Finnish counterparts in both male (18.6% and 6.7%) and female persons (6.6% and 3.6%). Compared to Estonia, physicians in Finland agreed more often that smoking is very harmful to their health, that trying to convince people to stop smoking is their responsibility, and that prevention of smoking should be part of the regular and special training of health professionals. In both countries, non-smoking physicians had more unfavourable attitudes towards smoking compared with those who were smoking.
Conclusions. These results remain a challenge to medical educators, especially in Estonia. Estonia needs to improve medical education in terms of motivating of physicians to ask about the smoking of their patients, and of training already medical students and resident physicians to counsel their patients for stopping smoking.