Do school based anti-smoking campaigns delivered by oral health therapists work?

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Abstract

Background

The dental profession has a pivotal role in cancer prevention. In Queensland, oral health therapists (OHTs) are in a unique position to provide quality smoking cessation programmes and intervention strategies to young adolescents through the school based oral health services they provide.

Methods

This study undertook a smoking cessation and prevention programme targeted to female high school students in a dental setting. An oral health therapist delivered an anti-smoking message and educated adolescents of the health-risk effects of smoking.

Results

A total of 1217 female students were recruited with 621 (51%) in the intervention group and 596 (49%) in the control group. There was a significant improvement in the knowledge of both systemic and oral health effects of smoking in the intervention group (p < 0.04). The results of the study demonstrated that the dental setting is an effective avenue for educating young individuals on smoking related conditions.

Conclusions

A smoking cessation and prevention programme targeted to female high school students in a dental setting provides a novel means of delivering an anti-smoking message and educating adolescents of the health-risk effects of smoking.

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