Dental students help other students to quit smoking

As well as having impact on general health, smoking is also bad for teeth and oral health, which is why a group of dental students from Plymouth University are working on a project to help their fellow students quit smoking.

Their project is raising awareness of the harmful effects of smoking on health and signposting other students to the Stop Smoking Service in Plymouth.

Key to the project has been an information gathering exercise which gave the dental students an understanding of others’ knowledge of and attitudes to issues associated with smoking. This highlighted areas such as confusion over how much you need to smoke to be classified as a smoker, the number of students who were already smokers before coming to university, awareness of the availability of local quit smoking services, and views on smoking and smokers (half of students would not date someone who smoked).

The students have implemented a campaign across all Plymouth University campuses. A launch event saw them run stalls in the Students’ Union and promote key stop smoking messages across electronic and paper noticeboards around the University. The posters have been designed by the students themselves with the slogan “put it out before it puts you out.”

They have been talking to students about their experiences of smoking and handing out information about how to access the support of the NHS Stop Smoking Service at Mount Gould Hospital. To help with this they have also provided the latest information to the GPs at the University Medical Centre.

The project is overseen by Professor Stephen Creanor from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. He said: 

“We gave the students the task of raising awareness of the effects of smoking on general and oral health within the student body, and looking at ways to increase referrals from the University to the NHS Stop Smoking Service at Mount Gould Hospital. Their approach has been both creative and effective, and has helped fellow students to really think about their smoking and what it might be doing to them.”
The project is part of the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry’s Inter Professional Engagement programme which sees dental students undertake a number of projects in the community designed to raise oral health awareness and to improve access to dental care. The programme is delivered by the Community Engagement Team at the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise.