Survey of dental clinic patients: smoking and preferences for cessation support

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Abstract

Background:

Smoking cessation interventions delivered by dental practitioners can be as effective as those delivered by general medical practitioners. However, concern that addressing smoking may cause offence to their patients is a reason cited by dental practitioners for not regularly addressing patient smoking behaviours, despite believing they should play a role in smoking cessation. This study aimed to elicit the smoking behaviour and smoking cessation preferences of dental patients to determine if these concerns accurately reflect patient attitudes.

Methods:

We surveyed 726 adult dental patients attending The University of Queensland's School of Dentistry dental clinics, Brisbane Dental Hospital and four private dental practices in South-East Queensland.

Results:

Most (80%) current daily smokers had tried to quit smoking. Smokers and non-smokers both agreed that dentists should screen for smoking behaviour and are qualified to offer smoking cessation advice (99% and 96% respectively). Almost all participants (96%) said they would be comfortable with their dentist asking about their smoking and that if their smoking was affecting their oral health their dentist should advise them to quit.

Conclusions:

Patients are receptive to dental practitioners inquiring about smoking behaviour and offering advice on quitting. Smoking patients showed considerable motivation and interest in quitting smoking, particularly in the context of health problems related to smoking being identified. These results should encourage dentists to raise the issue with their patients.

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