Dental health care providers continue to offer inconsistent and limited tobacco use cessation (TUC) interventions even though smoking-related morbidity and mortality continue to be a substantial health concern. Our purpose was to conduct a comprehensive, three-year (2003-06) TUC curriculum evaluation that included assessment of existing TUC education offered; dental hygiene educators' readiness to incorporate TUC education into the curriculum; and development of a pre-test/post-test assessment instrument and faculty development program. This curriculum study was carried out alongside a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of a peer-reviewed tobacco curriculum (Tobacco Free! Curriculum). Faculty members (baseline n=97; third-year n=42) from the twelve dental hygiene associate degree programs in Illinois participated in the study, which included a pre-treatment survey, six hours of on-site TUC curriculum training, and a post-treatment survey to determine the attitudes, perceived barriers, and current practices in tobacco education. Results showed an average increase of eighty-five minutes spent on tobacco education in the dental hygiene curriculum, a large positive increase in the percentage of faculty members who formally assessed the use of 5As and 5Rs (21 percent to 88 percent), and a dramatic increase (+100) in the percentage of faculty members who taught or included most of the thirteen TUC content areas following the introduction of the curriculum and training program.
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