Tobacco dependence education A survey of US and Canadian dental schools

Joan M. Davis, Margie R. Arnett, Jill Loewen, Laura Romito, Sara C. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Background Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of morbidity and premature mortality and is a significant factor in the development of oral disease. Tobacco dependence education (TDE) has not, however, been consistently integrated into predoctoral education. The authors conducted a study assessing the content and extent of TDE and intervention skills in US and Canadian dental schools. Methods In 2013, the authors contacted the academic deans of the 74 accredited US and Canadian dental schools to identify the educator who would be most appropriately described as the tobacco-use cessation "champion" at their institution. The authors e-mailed an introductory letter to each school's champion with a hyperlink to a 45-item survey; 2 follow-up emails were sent with links to the survey. Results The response rate was 66% (N = 49). TDE was taught at 92% of dental schools; 90% of respondents indicated that faculty members were confident to extremely confident in teaching tobacco-related pathology. Only 49% reported this level of confidence in teaching students how to help patients quit tobacco. TDE is taught in periodontics (82%), oral pathology (77%), clinic (66%), oral diagnosis (59%), public health dentistry (55%), pharmacology (55%), oral medicine (52%), and other disciplines (less than 50%). Conclusions The survey responses revealed that TDE is not a curricular component in all US and Canadian dental schools. Faculty members were most confident in teaching tobacco-related pathology but may lack the interest and skills needed to integrate TDE as part of patient care. Practice Implications Patients who use tobacco in any form are at an increased risk of developing periodontitis, developing oral cancer, and having poorer surgical outcomes, emphasizing the need for the dental team to be well-prepared through predoctoral dental education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-412
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Dental education
  • chewing
  • smoking cessation
  • tobacco
  • tobacco smoking
  • tobacco-use cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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