Grant to help in smoking prevention effort

Dec. 1, 2005
Initiative will enable registered dental hygienists to enhance their nationwide campaign to promote smoking cessation.

The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) has announced it will continue its Smoking Cessation Initiative (SCI) through the third installment of a one-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The third-year grant of approximately $150,000 will enable ADHA to enhance its nationwide campaign to promote smoking cessation through the efforts of registered dental hygienists.

"ADHA is proud to make such a positive impact on the oral and overall health of the public by encouraging dental hygienists to help smokers quit. Building on the success of the past two years, we are excited to expand this year's program by offering additional educational resources to our dental hygienist members," says Katie L. Dawson, RDH, BS, ADHA president.

"We are delighted to receive funding for a third year from the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center and appreciate their support of this innovative program."

Recognizing the unique opportunity dental hygienists have to promote better oral health through smoking cessation, the SCI is focused on increasing the number of dental hygienists who incorporate intervention strategies into clinical practice.

The objective for this year is to further establish dental hygienists as advocates of smoking cessation and to place dental hygiene on the frontline of smoking cessation intervention. Research demonstrates that the advice of a health professional can be a major motivation for a quit attempt by a patient who smokes.

An example of how dental hygienists are making an impact is through ADHA's national distribution of 750,000 "Quit Now" cards, sponsored by the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.

The UCSF center designed the card for distribution to tobacco users by health professionals and to promote the first national toll free quitline, 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669). The cards are the size and feel of a plastic credit card.

A national network of state SCI liaisons made up of ADHA members is coordinating the distribution of the "Quit Now" cards in their state, in addition to working with their state quitline to track referrals made by dental hygienists to measure the outcomes of card distribution.

The SCI liaisons were established to disseminate pertinent information to dental hygienists in every state on how to incorporate the highly recommended "Ask. Advise. Refer." cessation approach into clinical practice, a version of the "Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange" intervention that can be used by dental hygienists. Based on a recent survey of ADHA SCI liaisons, more than 80 percent are incorporating the "Ask. Advise. Refer." intervention into clinical practice.

"Dental hygienists have surged to the forefront as clinical interventionists who help smokers quit," said Connie Revell, deputy director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, UCSF.

"Their energy and enthusiasm for the Smoking Cessation Initiative have served them in good stead, and their ingenuity in securing support has greatly advanced the reach of the project, getting 'Quit Now' cards into the hands of thousands of hygienists in every state in the union. We continue to be awed by their political savvy, drive and dedication to the health of their patients. There could be no better group to have as partners."

Dental hygienists or consumers interested in receiving additional information should contact Carol Southard, RN, MSN, ADHA SCI project consultant, at (312) 440-8920 or at [email protected].

In addition, ongoing updates to the web site are beneficial for use by both dental hygienists and their patients.