Purpose: The study purpose was to determine tobacco-related knowledge, attitudes, and practice behaviors of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) members.
Methods: A 26-item survey was distributed to a national, random sample of 1,700 AAPD members. Frequencies, odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals assessed factors related to tobacco control behaviors.
Results: Of 1,700 questionnaires, 1,292 (82%) were returned and usable. Over 75% of respondents agreed that it is a pediatric dentist's responsibility to help patients who wish to stop using tobacco; only 142 (11%) had prior tobacco prevention/cessation training. Of those untrained, 905 (70%) were willing to be trained. Not knowing where to send patients for counseling and feeling ineffective with helping patients to stop their tobacco use were significant barriers reported by nearly half the respondents. Two hundred forty-five (19%) reported always/often asking their adolescent patients about tobacco use; 491 (38%) reported always/often advising known tobacco users to quit; and 284 (22%) reported always/often assisting with stopping tobacco use. Feeling well prepared to ask about tobacco was significantly associated with assisting tobacco users (odds ratio=8.9; 95% confidence interval=6.6-12).
Conclusion: Continuing education programs are needed to enhance the knowledge and skills of pediatric dentists to promote tobacco control behaviors.