Background: Community dental clinics are good settings for smoking intervention. The aim here was to put forward a strategy for preventing adolescent smoking by means of a brief intervention.
Methods: A total of 2,586 12-year-olds participated in this follow-up study. They were asked upon arrival for their annual routine dental examination to complete a smoking questionnaire and were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or the usual care control group according to the last digit of their date of birth (odd or even). The intervention comprised annually inquiring about smoking, showing photographs of the harmful effects of smoking on the teeth, allowing participants to examine their own mouth with a mirror, and finally counselling them in accordance with their answer to the question on smoking habits. The smoking status reported was not verified by other means.
Results: The prevalence of smoking at the end of the 2-year follow-up was 18.1%, in the intervention group and 20.8% among the controls. However, no statistically significant differences between groups were found.
Conclusions: These results reflect the difficulties of achieving successful results with long-term smoking cessation programs with adolescents in unstable conditions.
Copyright 1999 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.