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Great American Smokeout is Nov. 18

Annual observance, ADA resources offer dentists strategies that can help patients quit tobacco

The Great American Smokeout challenges people to stop smoking for 24 hours with the long-term goal that the decision will last forever.

Scheduled this year for Nov. 18, the event is sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The dental community can and should participate, said Dr. Nevin Zablotsky, an ADA Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning Seminar Series speaker and author of the ADA CE Online course, “Working with Tobacco-Addicted Patients.”

“This event may be a good stepping-off point for patients who have an interest in seeking long-term smoking cessation strategies,” said Dr. Zablotsky.

“Every member of the dental team has a different point of contact with patients,” he said. “In my own office, we had staff members who smoked for years and eventually quit. We had a patient who felt more comfortable talking to those staff members and sharing their struggles with quitting, and that finally helped the patient stop smoking.”

Dentists are health providers with more regular contact with patients, too.

“They may not see their physicians for years, whereas we have three-month recalls and six-month recalls,” said Dr. Zablotsky. “We have a good shot at getting people to hear us.”

Part of what he teaches in his Seminar Series course is that there are different stages of smoking cessation, and he offers communication strategies that can be used for patients who are actively trying to quit and those who are still contemplating that decision.

To book Dr. Zablotsky’s Seminar Series course, visit www.ada.org/goto/seminarseries.

His course on ADA CE Online is free as an introductory offer for a limited time. The one-hour course presents tobacco’s effects on oral and overall health and cessation methods. To take the course, visit www.adaceonline.org.  

For additional resources on smoking and tobacco cessation, visit the ADA’s website at www.ada.org/2615.aspx?currentTab=2.