Evaluation of Successfulness of Capacity Building Programmes on Smokeless Tobacco and Areca Nut Cessation

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Oral Medicine and Periodontology, Faculty of Dental sciences, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

2 Centre for Research in Oral Cancer, Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

3 Department of Oral Pathology, Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

4 Oral Health Unit, Family Health Bureau, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka.

5 Oral and Maxilliofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, Malaysia.


Background: Prevalence of smoking in Sri Lanka has shown a gradual reduction whilst the use of smokeless tobacco and areca nut exhibits an increasing trend. At present, only a few well-structured smokeless tobacco (SLT)/areca nut (AN) cessation programs have been conducted in Sri Lanka, which is a gross underachievement as betel chewing-related oral squamous cell carcinoma is the most common cancer in Sri Lankan males. As General Dental Practitioners (GDP) do not contribute significantly to SLT/AN cessation activities at present, capacity building programs on SLT/AN control were carried out. The study evaluated the knowledge, attitude and practices  imparted on SLT/AN control among dental surgeons. Methods: Following a single day capacity building program on smokeless tobacco / areca nut control, two self-administered questionnaires were used to assess the improvement of knowledge and change of attitudes among 663 GDPs. Results: Majority had a good knowledge on harmful effects of SLT but not on areca nut. Knowledge of the current legislation on SLT control in Sri Lanka and carcinogenicity of areca nut was not satisfactory. Almost all agreed that proper counseling leads to patient quitting the habit, a formal training is necessary to conduct tobacco control activities and it should be a part of the regular treatment modalities. More than 80% of the participants support strict legislation. Most important factors leading to poor involvement in tobacco cessation activities were lack of expertise and inadequate educational material and not breach of patient privacy and lack of financial incentives. 20.1% dental surgeons had consumed smokeless tobacco / areca nut products in the past and only a few were current users of tobacco and/or areca nut. Conclusions: Well planned workshops are efficient in improving knowledge, practices and attitudes of dental surgeons towards SLT/AN cessation.


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