Tobacco Dependence Education in Optometry: A Canadian Pilot Study Assessing Practices and Opportunities

Marlee M. Spafford, OD, MSc, PhD, FAAO
Matthew D. Iley, BSc, OD
Annette S.H. Schultz, RN, PhD
Ryan D. Kennedy, MAES, PhD


Abstract

Optometrists should be part of the healthcare team addressing tobacco prevention and cessation among patients. As part of a pilot Canadian study, we interviewed 18 optometry students and 11 community optometrists to identify the training they have received regarding tobacco use, dependence and cessation. Their training was limited to knowledge about tobacco-related ocular and systemic risks and some skills in asking about smoking behavior in patients older than 15 years. Their training left them lacking necessary: 1) knowledge about tobacco dependence and cessation, 2) skills in communicating tobacco advice, and 3) attitudes regarding their potential role in tobacco prevention and cessation.

Key Words: Tobacco use, tobacco cessation, optometrists


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