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October 7, 1998

Tobacco and Alcohol Use Among 1996 Medical School Graduates

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JAMA. 1998;280(13):1192-1195. doi:10.1001/jama.280.13.1192-JMS1007-4-1

In this era of prevention and health promotion, the health-related behaviors of medical professionals have drawn considerable attention and are a common focus of research. Today's physicians not only serve as providers of care for their patients, but also are expected to model the advice they impart.1,2 Addiction to chemical substances is a problem that may afflict any person, and it has long been a concern among physicians. Brewster2 found reference in the literature to concerns of physician addiction to alcohol, cocaine, and morphine as early as 1869. Multiple cross-sectional studies have since tracked the use of tobacco and alcohol among medical students and physicians. Although tobacco use among medical students and physicians has decreased steadily over the past 50 years, the patterns of alcohol intake in this group have remained relatively stable.3 The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of tobacco use and the patterns of alcohol consumption among 1996 graduating medical students using a cross-sectional survey.