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Medical students’ knowledge of tobacco
  1. Institute of Respiratory Diseases
  2. Viale Bracci, 3-53100 Siena
  3. Italy

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The review on educating medical students about tobacco by Robyn Richmond published in the January issue ofThorax was very timely and informative.1 However, the information that no medical school in Italy has a syllabus which specifically teaches about tobacco related issues is out of date.2

At the University of Siena medical school we currently offer a specific course on “Tobacco smoke: health effects and the role of health operators”. The course, now in its second edition, takes the form of a three day, 12 hour series of interactive sessions with participation by experts in epidemiology, pathogenesis, toxicology, psychology, and ethical aspects of tobacco smoke and smoking cessation. Students are also involved in the design, completion, and analysis of small smoking related projects such as a survey on tobacco smoking inside the hospital. The course is open to students from all of the six years of the medical school and it provides 15 educational credits (over a total of 1000 credits required for graduation).

The awareness of tobacco related health issues by the medical profession is increasing, and reviews such as those published recently in Thorax are very helpful in advancing this process.