The purpose of this study was to
examine tobacco use among Jordanian dentists and
their views on smoking.
In July 1999, a self-reported
questionnaire survey was mailed to a representative sample of
849 of 1693 licensed general dentists. The data were analyzed by
using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (Chicago,
lll), and the statistical significance was determined by means
of the Chi-square test.
A response rate of 72.2% (613)
was obtained. Overall, two thirds of the respondents were men
younger than 40 years of age who worked in private sector.
Current tobacco users made up 35% (215/613), the majority of
whom smoked cigarettes, with 83% being daily smokers. One fifth
of daily smokers said that they smoke 20 or more cigarettes per
day. Of respondents, 86.8% agreed that dentists should be a
nonsmoking role model, and 77% believed that they should be
involved in tobacco cessation counseling. Only 38.3% thought
that they could convince patients who smoke to quit. Nonsmokers
were significantly more likely to respond positively to these
questions. Most respondents (92.2%) reported that the harmful
effect of tobacco on health is a good reason to motivate smokers
to quit. Unfortunately, almost half of the respondents (46.7%)
thought that dental treatment is more important than providing
tobacco counseling, and those were significantly more likely to
be from private practices.
Despite the high
proportion of general dentists who were current smokers, many
hold positive views on the tobacco issue. An education program
targeted at dentists in Jordan is needed to discourage them from
using tobacco and to teach them tobacco-cessation techniques and
behaviors to reduce use among their patients.