Tobacco Use in a Dental School Patient Population
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A retrospective study was performed to determine the incidence of tobacco usage and cessation in a dental school patient population. The study was conducted to assess the magnitude of the tobacco problem in the dental population, along with determining how successful the cessation efforts are and the determination of patients to quit. The study reviewed 1,030 randomly selected patients' charts who were seen in the year 2004. Of these, 1,025 met the study criteria, a medical history form with completed tobacco usage questions. It was found that 55% (565) of patients had used tobacco. Out of these 565 tobacco users, 38% still continue to use tobacco products, including 25 current users who failed in their attempt to quit. Thirty-two percent of the tobacco users were not interested in quitting. Patients ranging from twenty to twenty-nine years of age had the highest prevalence of tobacco non-quitters. It was also found that as age increased there was a steady increase of tobacco cessation. The cessation trend started at 2I% in patients twenty to twenty-nine, with a steady increase to I 00% prevalence in patients ninety or older. Tobacco usage was also found to be more prevalent in the male population, 63% (295), than in the female population, 49% (27I). Of the total patient population 25% were current smokers, which is well above the national health goal to reduce tobacco usage to I2% by 2010. This is an immediate problem that needs to be addressed. Dental care providers must work to reduce the tobacco percentage by providing cessation information and support.