Health Center News, Uncategorized

Bad Habits Go Up in Smoke at Community Health Centers

By Angie Stewart

The National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute funded a study of tobacco cessation programs for providers that serve low-income patients. This study was a collaboration between Oregon Research Institute, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and the Columbia University School of Dental Medicine. This study involved 14 Community Health Centers in Mississippi, New York, and Oregon, including Greater Meridian Community Health Center in Meridian, MS and Umpqua Community Health Center in Roseburg, OR. These tobacco cessation programs take a somewhat different approach to quitting smoking—rather than hearing about the hazards of cigarettes from a primary care doctor, patients are getting it from health center dental clinics.  And it works.

The study proved that patients are more likely to quit smoking after being advised to do so by his or her dentist than by his or her primary care physician. University of Arizona Associate Professor Judith Gordon believes this is because, “a dentist or dental hygienist can use something as simple as a hand mirror to show the patient what their tobacco use is doing to them right now.” Also, patients usually see dentists on a more regular basis than they do their primary care physician.

The results of this study—proving the success of tobacco cessation programs in dental clinics—can have a far-reaching impact on reducing the negative health effects of tobacco use.  Check out the study here.

Does your health center have a tobacco cessation program in place? Let us know!


  1. For more information about this study or to request a reprint of the original article published in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health, please contact Judith S. Gordon, PhD, Principal Investigator, Associate Professor, Dept. of Family & Community Medicine, University of Arizona,, (520) 626-6452.

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