Primary Dental Care, 17(2) pp 79-82
This audit aimed to quantify the number of smokers attending two general dental practices. It also aimed to establish the demographic characteristics of these smokers in terms of age, gender and deprivation status, and to raise the awareness of practice staff about smoking cessation.
Data were collected from consecutive patients (aged over 16 years) attending two general dental practices over a period of one month. The information collected included smoking status, number of cigarettes smoked, age, gender, and postcode. A deprivation score (derived from the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation [WIMD] for 2008) was appended to each patient record in order to provide a measure of deprivation based on the postcode of the patient. Staff at both practices were involved in the audit. Staff were given a brief pre- and post-audit questionnaire to test their knowledge on smoking cessation. The audit standard was that no more than 29% of patients should be smokers. Where relevant, data were statistically tested using the chi-square test.
Five hundred and sixty-one patients provided data on their smoking habits. It was found that 159 (28.3%) were smokers, smoking on average 12 cigarettes per day. The average age of the sample was 46 years and 242 (43.1%) were male. Forty-eight per cent of the sample was shown to be resident in a postcode considered to be deprived. Older patients were more likely to be non-smokers (P=0.0001). Following the final audit meeting, correct answers among staff for knowledge of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines regarding effective smoking-cessation practices improved from 6% to 71%.
The issue of smoking cessation has been highlighted for two dental teams. Whether the audit will result in the delivery of smoking-cessation procedures within the dental practice settings cannot be established. It is clear that the desired smoking-cessation behaviours can now be contemplated by the dental teams. Further monitoring is required to establish outcomes as a result of the actions of the teams.