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A comparison of tobacco smoking among dentists in 15 countries

Smith DR, Leggat PA . Int Dent J. 2006;56(5):283-8

This study was conducted as a systematic review of all modern literature describing the prevalence and associations of tobacco smoking among dentists. A keyword search of appropriate MeSH terms was initially undertaken to identify relevant material. Reference lists of manuscripts were also examined to locate further publications. A total of 35 English-language studies published in the past 25 years met the inclusion criteria. Results suggest that the prevalence of smoking is generally quite low among dentists, and that it has also declined in many countries during recent years. The lowest rates were documented in the United States (USA), Thailand, Finland, Australia and Canada. When multiple studies were examined over time, it appears that dentists in Australia and the USA consistently report the lowest prevalence. Overall, this review suggests that dentists have one of the lowest smoking rates among all health professionals. There were a few exceptions however, namely Italy and Jordan, where dentists appear to be smoking at fairly high rates. Nevertheless, it is important that tobacco usage continues its decline in future years so that the dental profession may remain exemplars at the forefront of preventive oral care.