Dental Hygiene Tobacco Cessation Competency


IUSD Dental Hygiene – 2nd year
H301/H302 Tobacco Cessation Competency

General goals of the assignment: Upon completion of the tobacco cessation experiential component, the student should be able to:
1. Understand the process of nicotine addiction
2. Recognize and develop an understanding of counseling methods for tobacco cessation
3. Practice communication skills /counseling techniques for tobacco cessation
4. With assistance from a faculty tobacco cessation expert, develop a personalized tobacco cessation treatment plan based on  
    patient characteristics and needs
5. Teach oral cancer screening self-examination to a high risk tobacco user.
6. Demonstrate ability and confidence in engaging in tobacco cessation activities


Dental Hygiene Tobacco Curriculum
Over 30 years of research has shown that patients are 2.5 times more likely to be successful in quitting tobacco when they are advised by a healthcare professional to quit. Studies have shown cessation rates as high as 18% in patients who receive counseling by dental professionals. Because dental hygienists may spend the most time with patients, they are in a prime position to educate patients about the negative effects of tobacco on the oral cavity and help direct patients to community-based resources that can assist them in quitting.
At IUSD, we are celebrating our success at integrating tobacco education into our dental hygiene education curriculum. Lorinda Coan, RDH, MS, Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA and Laura Romito, DDS, MS developed this curriculum to give dental hygiene students an in-depth understanding of the behavioral and physical complexities involved in nicotine addiction. The tobacco curriculum begins with students engaging in 10 hours of lecture dedicated specifically to nicotine addiction. The lecture series is followed by students engaging in an intensive case learning project whereby they ask a tobacco user with whom they feel close (e.g., a relative, spouse or friend) to complete a series of tobacco cessation survey assessments derived from the Mayo Clinic model. Students then meet with the instructor in pairs to learn how to interpret their tobacco user’s scores on nicotine dependence, behavioral motivators, and co-morbid factors affecting tobacco use (e.g., depression and alcohol use). Students also learn effective communication strategies for talking with tobacco-using patients.
The work on this project has been presented at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and published in the Journal of Dental Education.
Coan, L. L., Christen, A., & Romito, L. (2007). “Evolution of a Tobacco Cessation Curriculum for Dental Hygiene Students at Indiana University School of Dentistry.” Journal of Dental Education, 71(6), p. 776-783.