It is easier to try to prevent a person from ever using tobacco than trying to get them to quit once they have begun.
However, some tobacco chewers, especially children and adolescents, don’t comprehend tobacco dangers until they are into their late teens if at all and by that time might have been chewing for five or ten years.
Research suggests the success rate for tobacco cessation in a health practitioner’s office is somewhere around five percent. But that does not mean that there is a ninety-five percent failure rate!
The person who receives the quit message may not, and probably won’t, quit immediately, but, he may get the same message from others like a nurse, his wife, a friend or others and later reflect about what was told to them.
Eventually, after many intervention episodes, the patient may make his own decision to quit and often comes back to the dentist or hygienist for help in doing so.
Health professionals shouldn’t grade themselves on how many people they can “get” to quit, but rather how many times they give the message when the opportunity arises.
Under these criteria, there is no reason not to have an intervention success approaching 100%. Once the patient has made the decision to quit, then the professional should be ready with suggestions.
Smokeless Tobacco Intervention and the Health Professional
While about 75% of health providers think it is a good idea to tell patients about tobacco dangers, only about ten percent routinely do so. Research shows that the reasons they don’t get involved are a combination of not feeling confident about the subject, questionable goals of doing so, afraid of a negative reaction from the patient, feel that the patient would be offended, there is not enough reimbursement to get into cessation or they just don’t have enough time.
Kids hear about chewing tobacco at an early age due to tobacco advertising, store displays, friends and even unknowing parents introduce smokeless tobacco to some kids as young as 3 to 9 years.
By the time a child is ten, they may know what smokeless …