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J Community Health. 2011 Apr;36(2):211-8. doi: 10.1007/s10900-010-9299-5.

Survey of tobacco control among Florida dentists.

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Department of Orthodontics, College of Dental Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, 3200 South University Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328, USA.


Cigarette smoking contributes to the largest number of preventable deaths with a recent report estimating that nearly 5 million annual deaths worldwide and 400,000 in the United States were attributed to cigarette smoking. Dentists, in particular, are in a unique position to educate their patients about the health effects of tobacco. Tobacco cessation knowledge, behaviors, and compliance of Florida dentists were assessed using survey methodology. The survey was administered to a random sample of 6,000 dentists, which was provided by the Florida Department of Health. The survey inquired about (1) general demographic information, (2) Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange behaviors, (3) barriers to the incorporation of tobacco cessation activities, and (4) willingness to participate in further training. A large majority of dentists (88%) are not familiar with the concept of the Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange behaviors when asked directly. When asked about each individual component of this approach, however, dentists had much higher response rates. Dentists were best at routinely asking (59%), advising (46%), & assessing (32%) their patients about their smoking. However, they were much less helpful when assisting and arranging follow-up (70% stated that they never arrange follow-up). This study discovered that the majority of dentists who counsel patients spend only 1-4 min. Sixty-six percent of the dentists surveyed were willing to receive specific training, with 50% preferring an online course and 42% preferring a continued education course.

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