Introduction: Many countries are enacting tobacco treatment training, guidelines and policies in order to fulfil Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) treaty agreements. This study tapped the perspectives of international treatment providers to identify challenges and recommendations for improvement.
Methods: The cross-sectional survey included closed- and open-ended items. Distribution included professional listservs (ATTUD; Global Bridges; ENSH Global) and word-of-mouth. The survey collected data using an open-source platform (Enketo Smart Paper/Ona). We used R for quantitative analysis and Google Sheets to categorize open-ended responses.
Results: There were 155 respondents from 49 countries. Most (78.6%) provided direct services. Almost half (48.1%) reported receiving less than 6 hours of tobacco treatment training; respondents from low and lower-middle income countries (LMICs) received significantly less training (Fisher's p < 0.014). Likewise, among all respondents, 43% rated poor access to treatment; this rose to 100% among LMICs (Fisher's p < 0.001). To improve treatment and training, respondents suggested increasing government funding for pharmacotherapy and behavioural services; providing training in local languages and in the treatment of smokeless tobacco forms; trainee certification and access to online support for providers.
Conclusions: Globally, half of front-line treatment providers reported having poor access to training; this was true for all providers in LMICs and most in upper middle-income countries. Existing online trainings, available mainly in English, could be migrated to open-access formats to permit countries to tailor them to their local needs and languages. Countries in geographical proximity or historical linguistic/political alliances could forge cross-country mentoring relationships and mutual support for training.