Tobacco attitudes, practices, and behaviors: a survey of dentists participating in managed care

David A Albert, Herb Severson, Judith Gordon, Angela Ward, Judy Andrews, Don Sadowsky
Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2005, 7: S9-18
Tobacco cessation knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of dentists participating in a large national managed care dental plan were assessed using a mailed survey. The survey was administered to dentists recruited to participate in an evaluation of a CD-ROM and supportive electronic detailing to promote increased tobacco cessation activities. General dentists who met specific technological criteria, had an active E-mail account, and at least 200 adult patients were eligible to participate in this study. A total of 184 dentists, located in 29 states, agreed to participate. The survey instrument included questions that addressed (a) Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange behaviors, (b) self-efficacy including knowledge, confidence, and success regarding tobacco cessation, (c) success of various tobacco cessation strategies, (d) barriers to tobacco cessation, and (e) demographics including year of graduation, gender, and race/ethnicity. Self-reported baseline tobacco intervention-related behaviors were low, with 28% of dentists reporting that they asked their patients about tobacco or recorded tobacco use in their patients' charts at least 41% of the time. For Advise behavior, approximately half of the dentists advised tobacco-using patients to quit at least 41% of the time. Although self-reported lack of knowledge was high, 71% of respondents indicated that their lack of knowledge was either not a barrier or a slight barrier to incorporating tobacco cessation into their practices. The survey revealed that dentists do not routinely incorporate tobacco cessation into their practices. Newer information-transfer technologies may serve as vehicles for increased smoking cessation activities by dentists.

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