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Am J Public Health. 1995 February; 85(2): 231–235.
PMCID: PMC1615327

Making the most of a teachable moment: a smokeless-tobacco cessation intervention in the dental office.


OBJECTIVES. Primary care medical clinics are good settings for smoking interventions. This study extends this strategy with a smokeless tobacco intervention delivered by dentists and dental hygienists in the course of routine dental care. METHODS. Male users of moist snuff and chewing tobacco (n = 518) were identified by questionnaire in clinic waiting rooms and then randomly assigned to either usual care or intervention. The intervention included a routine oral examination with special attention to the part of the mouth in which tobacco was kept and an explanation of the health risks of using smokeless tobacco. After receiving unequivocal advice to stop using tobacco, each patient viewed a 9-minute videotape, received a self-help manual, and was briefly counseled by the dental hygienist. RESULTS. Long-term success was defined as no smokeless tobacco use at both 3- and 12-month follow-ups, with those lost to follow-up counted as smokeless tobacco users. The intervention increased the proportion of patients who quit by about one half (12.5% vs 18.4%, P < .05). CONCLUSIONS. These results demonstrate the efficacy of a brief dental office intervention for the general population of smokeless tobacco users.

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