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Referring Dental Patients to Telephone quitlines may Help Them Stop Smoking

A pilot study conduced by researchers at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, shows that dentists may help their patients stop smoking by referring them to tobacco-use telephone "quitlines".

The researchers randomly assigned eight general dental practitioners to provide either brief counseling regarding smoking cessation, or brief counseling along with referrals to a tobacco-use quitline for patients who were smoked cigarettes.

In all 82 patients were studied, 60 of whom were referred to the tobacco-use quitline, while 22 received only brief counseling.

Six months later, 25 per cent of the patients in the quitline group and 27.3 per cent of the patients in the brief-counseling group had given up tobacco use. The abstinence rates increased in those patients in the quitline group who completed more telephonic consultations.

While 60 per cent of dentists believe their patients do not expect tobacco-use cessation services from them, point out the study authors, nearly 59 percent of patients believe that dentists should provide such services.

Published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, the study suggests that intervention of dentists in prompting their patients to quit smoking can play a significant role in decreasing tobacco-related illness and death.

"By facilitating engagement in a tobacco-use quitline, dental practitioners can close the gap between patients expectations and the current standard of practice," write the authors.


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