About half of dentists offer smoking cessation counseling or treatment to their patients, according to an ADA Clinical Evaluators Panel report published in the October issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.
The report, which includes the responses of 283 ACE Panel member dentists, found 41% of respondents offer counseling only, 8% offer both counseling and treatment, 1% offer treatment only and 49% offer neither. Of the 49% who said they offer neither, a quarter indicated they were current or past smokers, vapers or smokeless tobacco product users.
"Historically, the incidence of smoking peaks during global crises — for example, the world wars, recession, etc. A similar trend was observed during the recent COVID-19 pandemic," said Purnima Kumar, D.D.S., Ph.D., one of the report's co-authors and a member of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs' ACE Panel Oversight Subcommittee. "Not just that, but early evidence suggested that smokers and vapers were at greater risk for COVID. This began a discussion within the ACE Panel about how dentists handle these habits and if they incorporate smoking/vaping cessation into their patient education protocols. Dentists have the opportunity to see patients much more frequently than our medical colleagues and therefore, are better positioned to counsel them."
Of the dentists who indicated they offer smoking cessation counseling or treatment, 90% said they were involved in those conversations with patients, either alone or with a dental team member, and 69% said they would be willing to prescribe pharmacologic agents to help with cessation.