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A global assessment of knowledge of dental students about nicotine replacement therapy: findings from 43 countries

Authors

  • I. T. Agaku,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Centre for Global Tobacco Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    • Correspondence

      Israel T. Agaku

      Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences

      Centre for Global Tobacco Control

      Harvard School of Public Health

      677 Huntington Avenue

      Boston

      MA 02115, USA

      Tel: +1 (770) 728 3220

      Fax: +1 (770) 488 5848

      e-mail: iagaku@post.harvard.edu

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  • O. A. Ayo-Yusuf

    1. Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Centre for Global Tobacco Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Community Dentistry, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
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Abstract

Objectives

Knowledge of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a competency that is expected from receiving training in the treatment for tobacco dependence. This study therefore assessed the knowledge of dental students in 43 countries about NRT.

Methods

The 2005–2011 dental Global Health Professions Student Survey data were analysed for 13,040 third-year dental students from 43 countries. Knowledge about NRT was self-reported and country-specific prevalence estimates were calculated. To assess for correlates of knowledge about NRT amongst dental students, a multivariate logistic regression model was fitted (< 0.05), with pooled data from all 43 countries. The model assessed for geographical location, gross national income, tobacco cessation training in school, sex, current tobacco use and survey year.

Results

Amongst all dental students, the proportion that knew about NRT ranged from 37.0% (Mongolia) to 97.6% (Slovakia). The odds of knowing about NRT were lower amongst dental students in the Eastern Mediterranean region (aOR = 0.52; 95% CI: 0.34–0.79) compared to those in the European region. Dental students in upper-middle-income (aOR = 2.46; 95% CI: 1.57–3.85) and high-income countries (aOR=4.55; 95% CI: 2.28–9.09) both had higher odds of knowing about NRT compared to dental students in low-income countries. Also, current use of any tobacco product and receipt of tobacco cessation training in school were both associated with higher likelihood of knowing about NRT. No significant gender differences in knowledge of NRT were observed.

Conclusions

A large proportion of dental students in several countries knew about NRT. However, disparities in knowledge existed across regions. Enhanced efforts are needed to formally train dental students on tobacco cessation techniques.

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