Tobacco Dependence Treatment in a Dental School: 4 Year Analysis

Gordon, Sara, Jill Lowen, Dana Villines, Julie Vecchio, and Zainab Mackie


University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry implemented tobacco dependence treatment services in 2002, and the students have been surveyed annually about the impact the program has had on their patient care and personal tobacco use habits. This is an analysis of that data from 2003 to 2006.


All students in 2nd year dental hygiene (DH) and 3rd and 4th year dentistry (DDS) classes are required to complete an annual on-line survey about their experience and attitudes regarding tobacco dependence treatment.


110 DH students and 591 DDS students completed the survey (100% response rate). Both groups asked more than half their patients whether they used tobacco, but this behavior was more likely in DDS than DH students. This behavior appears to have become more prevalent with the dental students over the course of the program. Both groups advised most tobacco users to quit. Most patients were not interested in quitting tobacco use. Both DH and DDS students reported they only record this information in the patient‟s record sometimes. When asked whether they feel better prepared to help a patient quit smoking (on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree), DH students indicated, on average, that they agree, while DDS students‟ response fell between neutral and agree.


Although DDS students are more likely than DH students to ask their patients about tobacco use, neither group is completely compliant in this regard and neither group consistently documents this behavior in the patient record. DH s