Dentists Can Convince Their Patients to Quit Smoking Through CRUSE Counseling

From 2000 through 2003, researchers from the Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, Ore., implemented and evaluated a tobacco cessation program that dentists provided to low-income people in public clinics.

Researchers from the Oregon Research Institute created the CRUSE program, which teaches dentists and dental hygienists to routinely assess patients' tobacco use and advises them on ways to help their patients quit.

(The CRUSE acronym is based on the five steps of the intervention: Check tobacco use status; Relate tobacco-related oral health findings; Urge tobacco users to quit; Supply self-help cessation materials; Encourage the patient via follow-up.)

The CRUSE program, however, was designed for dentists in HMO and private practices. No one had implemented and evaluated a tobacco cessation program for low-income patients who see dentists in public clinics.

Key Findings

  • Dentists and dental hygienists were more likely to discuss smoking with their patients and provide them with resources to quit after receiving the training in intervention.

  • Controlling for differences in age, race/ethnicity and time to first morning cigarette, researchers found that patients in the intervention group were three to four times more likely to report at three months and six months that they had quit using tobacco than patients receiving usual care.

  • The data suggest that African Americans quit at higher rates than whites or Hispanics. However, the sample size within each racial/ethnic group was too small to support statistical testing with adequate power, and current findings are unclear about possible mechanisms for such differences.