Smoking and attitudes towards it and its cessation among dental students in Latvia

Jorma I. Virtanen, Maarit Filppula, Ilze Maldupa, Kristiina Patja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The prevalence of smoking is higher in Latvia than in most EU countries. This study aimed to determine the level of knowledge of dental students in Latvia about the effects of smoking on oral health and their attitudes toward smoking and its cessation. Methods. A cross-sectional survey among all the dental students in Latvia was conducted in 2011. Students at the Riga Stradins University were asked to participate in this anonymous, voluntary survey. The questionnaire included items concerned with the students' own smoking habits, their knowledge of smoking as an addiction and its health effects and their attitudes towards its prevention and cessation in a dental setting. The response rate was 87% (173/200). The Chi-square test and logistic regression were used for the statistical analyses. Results. About one quarter of the students (24%) were daily or occasional smokers and almost half of the male students (46%) had smoked at least 100-times in their lifetime. The students revealed a lack of knowledge about the addictive nature of smoking, in that about half of the students did not consider smoking physically or socially addictive. About one fifth (21.4%) didn't consider environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) harmful to one's health. Although the students' awareness of smoking improved during their studies, the most significant factor related to their knowledge was their own smoking history (OR = 2.7; p = 0.021). Conclusions. Smoking was frequent among undergraduate dental students and they lacked knowledge of its addictiveness. More emphasis ought to be placed on education with regard to smoking and on cessation services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-426
Number of pages6
JournalActa Odontologica Scandinavica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • Attitude of health personnel
  • Dental students
  • Knowledge
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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