Why some dentist still smoke? A qualitative study
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Public Health Foundation of India, Gurugram, India
Khushbu Sharma   

Public Health Foundation of India, Plot No. 47, Sector 44, Institutional Area, Sector 32, Gurugram, Haryana 122002, India
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A14
Tobacco control is a multi-sectoral issue which needs the active collaboration of various professions, departments of the government, civil societies and nongovernmental organizations. Health professionals play a pivotal role in tobacco cessation and motivating people not to initiate or withdraw the consumption of tobacco.

The objective was to assess the smoking behavior of dentists in terms of their reasons to initiate smoking, barriers to quit, perception as a smoker, attitudes towards tobacco cessation counseling, nicotine replacement therapy and tobacco control policies.

Smokers were recruited from the dental community comprising of 10 in each, undergraduate and postgraduate categories respectively. In-depth interviews and four focus group discussions were held. These were recorded and various themes were generated depending on the responses. Manual method was used for transcribing the data, and recurrent themes were identified.

The initiation of the habit was between 16-18 years for all the participants. The main reasons to continue smoking were due to peer influence, and smoking was perceived as a stress buster. The undergraduates were in moderate dependence and low motivation state, while the postgraduates in low dependence and high motivation. The knowledge regarding the ill effects, tobacco cessation counseling and methods to use nicotine replacement therapy also seemed to be inadequate. Participants also felt they did not require any professional help to quit smoking. Enforcement of tobacco control laws in the institutions and information regarding the various laws was also lacking.

Dental professionals play a significant role in identifying smokers, earlier than other healthcare professionals. Initiation of the habit from school level needs attention. The negligible attitude towards the habit requires emphasis of the hazards, at health and economical level during the dental course period. The personal behavior change along with tobacco cessation counseling is required to help dentists to play as role models for the community.