Oral health care professionals are aware of their responsibility to advise patients to stop using tobacco. However, they do not feel sufficiently prepared to help their patients to quit, and consequently are not confident in providing these preventive measures. This fact reflects the lack of emphasis on tobacco cessation in both dental and dental hygiene undergraduate education. It may therefore be assumed that improvement of dental and dental hygiene education in tobacco use cessation counselling may result in increased self-confidence and frequency of its provision. The importance of making space in the curriculum for tobacco use prevention and cessation has to be emphasised. Dental schools and dental hygiene programmes have to be reminded of the key role the dental profession has in tobacco control. Next to the public health aspect of tobacco control, such involvement may be both an ethical and a legal responsibility. The implementation of effective tobacco use prevention and cessation in a dental educational setting requires a multidisciplinary approach involving the school’s entire teaching personnel and external experts. In general, a knowledge base attained through lecture, Problem-Based Learning (PBL), or E-Learning, and clinical skills attained through clinical instructions and practices is required. It is suggested that curriculum content should include (1) the biological effects of tobacco use, (2) the history of tobacco culture and psychosocial aspects of tobacco use, (3) prevention and treatment of tobacco use and dependence, and (4) development of clinical skills for tobacco use prevention and cessation.
Keywords: tobacco use prevention, tobacco use cessation, dental education, dental hygiene education, smoking cessation, undergraduate education