Tobacco use is a significant public health problem across Europe. Each year over half a million Europeans die prematurely due to a smoking-related disease. Tobacco use is a primary cause of many oral diseases and adverse oral conditions. The prevalence of tobacco use varies considerably across Europe, although in many countries overall rates of use have declined in recent years. However, tobacco use among women and young people is rising in several European countries. Tobacco behaviour is influenced by an array of factors, and quitting is a major challenge for many tobacco users. Tobacco use is now considered a chronic progressive relapsing condition requiring very specific support and assistance. To reduce tobacco use across Europe, a range of complementary actions and policies are required at an international, national and local level. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) outlines an array of evidence-based policies that can be implemented to prevent tobacco use and promote cessation. National dental associations and professional groups across Europe have an important role to play in supporting the ratification and implementation of the FCTC. The aim of this paper is to outline the public health aspects of tobacco control and highlight how the oral health professions across Europe can become actively engaged in this important and relevant area of prevention.
Keywords: public health, tobacco control, oral health professions