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Comparative Study
. 2016 Aug;80(8):959-65.

Dental vs. Medical Students' Comfort With Smoking Cessation Counseling: Implications for Dental Education

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  • PMID: 27480707
Comparative Study

Dental vs. Medical Students' Comfort With Smoking Cessation Counseling: Implications for Dental Education

Staci Robinson Allen et al. J Dent Educ. .

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine if dental and medical students have similar feelings of professional responsibility, comfort, and confidence with counseling patients about smoking cessation during their clinical years. All third- and fourth-year osteopathic medical (N=580) and dental students (N=144) at Western University of Health Sciences were invited to participate in a survey in April-July 2014, either electronically or in person, regarding their perceived professional responsibility, comfort, and confidence in counseling smokers about quitting and major constraints against counseling smokers about quitting. Respondents' demographic characteristics, smoking history, and history of living with a smoker were also assessed. Response rates were 21% (124/580) for medical and 82% (118/144) for dental students. Most of the responding medical (99.2%) and dental (94.9%) students reported feeling it was their professional responsibility to counsel patients about smoking cessation. Medical student respondents were significantly more comfortable and confident counseling patients about smoking cessation than dental student respondents (p<0.001). Students in the third year were just as comfortable and confident counseling patients about smoking cessation as students in the fourth year (p>0.10). There were no differences by age, but students who were former smokers were significantly more comfortable and confident counseling about smoking cessation than were nonsmokers (p=0.001). While almost all of the responding students reported feeling responsible for counseling patients about smoking cessation, the medical students and former smokers were more comfortable and confident performing this counseling. These results suggest the need for additional training in counseling techniques for dental students and nonsmokers. Future studies should assess the impact of medical and dental students' smoking cessation counseling.

Keywords: dental education; dental students; medical education; medical students; secondhand smoke; smoking cessation; tobacco cessation counseling; tobacco dependence.

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