Purpose: The objective of the present study was to study the ability to influence young at-risk patients attitudes toward tobacco use through two intervention methods that were performed by dental health professionals. Materials and Methods: Two interventions, a brief individual motivational interview and an adapted school lecture, were studied, and both were compared with a control group. Before and after interventions, a questionnaire was used. Patients born in 1989 and 1992 who were judged by the dental personnel as potentially at risk for dental diseases, a total of 301 individuals, were included. Results: Both before and after interventions, the results showed a generally negative attitude towards tobacco use. A majority of the participants were positive towards measures that were taken to control the spread of tobacco use, younger participants (born 1992) to a greater extent (73%) than the older participants (born 1989) (54%). Important factors that kept the participants away from tobacco use were the harmful effects and the approaches of parents and friends. The older participants believed to a greater extent that they would try smoking as adults. No change in tobacco use was registered after intervention, although the participants reported an increased use among friends. Conclusions: The two pedagogical methods that were used in the present study influenced the young peoples attitudes towards tobacco use only to a small extent. However, the period between 12 and 15 years old seems to provide a good opportunity to influence attitudes towards tobacco. The adolescents demand for interactive learning and their development of attitudes and tobacco use habits in relation to family and friends provide opportunities to use new pedagogical models.
Keywords: adolescent, attitude to health, health education, intervention study, tobacco use