Dental Students’ Tobacco Smoking Habits, Second-hand Smoke Exposure, and Training in Cessation Counselling at the University of Medicine Pharmacy Sciences and Technology of Târgu Mureș

DOI: 10.2478/amma-2019-0006

Objectives: To describe tobacco smoking habits, attitudes, second-hand smoke exposure, and training in cessation counseling at the University of Medicine Pharmacy, Sciences and Technology of Târgu-Mureș (UMPSTTM), as baseline data for the first Romanian university to implement a Smoke-Free University Project.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was administered in 2014 among dental students at UMPSTTM to explore their smoking habits, attitudes toward smoking and tobacco control policies, exposure to second-hand smoke, interest in quitting, and their knowledge about cessation counseling. We used core questions of the Global Health Professions Student Survey (GHPSS) and added specific items related to the Smoke-Free University Project. Data were analyzed by SPSS v22 software. We compared our results with those of the GHPSS Survey.
Results: 581 dental students, 73.1% of the target population (n=795), completed the questionnaire. 38.7% were current smokers. Approximately 1 in 5 (22.6%) current smokers admitted smoking inside university buildings, although 80.7% were aware of the smoking ban. 44.2% of current smokers plan to quit smoking. Nearly half of the students (48.9%) were exposed to second-hand smoke in their current homes, 78.1% in public places and 33.3% inside the university buildings. Only 21.0% of all participants received any formal training on how to help future patients quit.
Conclusions: Tobacco use prevalence was higher among future dentists than in the majority of respondents to the GHPSS. Changes in dental school education are needed to promote personal smoking cessation, as well as to educate dentists on how to support their future patients quitting.

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