Radon knowledge and practices among family physicians in a high radon state

David Schmitz, Marilyn G. Klug, Gary G. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Exposure to radon at home is the largest cause of lung cancer after smoking, and the combination of smoking and radon increases lung cancer risk several-fold. North Dakota has some of the highest residential radon levels in the United States. Although family physicians in North Dakota commonly counsel patients about smoking cessation, little is known about their knowledge and practices concerning radon. Methods: We mailed a questionnaire to 350 North Dakota family physicians regarding radon knowledge, beliefs, their own radon testing, and radon counseling of patients. The responses were analyzed by descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, and logistic regression. Results: Sixty-one percent of the surveys were completed. Seventy percent of family physicians correctly identified radon as radioactive; 67% reported that they do not inform patients about radon; and 80% reported never discussing the combined hazards of radon and smoking. Conversely, 35% of family physicians reported that they tested their own homes for radon. Discussion: Most North Dakota family physicians are knowledgeable about radon, and more than one third have tested their own homes. However, only a minority transmit this knowledge to their patients. Future efforts should educate physicians about communicating radon risks, especially in conjunction with smoking. ( J Am Board Fam Med 2021;34:602 607.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-607
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Family Physicians
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Cancer
  • North Dakota
  • Radon
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


Dive into the research topics of 'Radon knowledge and practices among family physicians in a high radon state'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this