Maricopa County Department of Health Launches “Talking Tobacco” Online Dental Course

Talking Tobacco

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Jennifer Franklin, Office of Tobacco and Chronic Disease Prevention – 602-372-8418



PHOENIX (April 15, 2013)  – The Maricopa County Department of Public Health Office of Tobacco and Chronic Disease Prevention has launched “Talking Tobacco,” a free online course designed to educate dental professionals about the effects of tobacco use on oral health.

Authored by Carolyn Holman, R.D.H., a registered dental hygienist and educator who administers Maricopa County’s Oral Health Tobacco Education program, “Talking Tobacco”  (at focuses on the oral manifestations of tobacco use, the critical role that dental professionals play in helping their patients quit, and ways to alleviate the costly public health problem of tobacco use. It also provides information about free cessation services offered by Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine

In an engaging and easy-to-use format, the narrated two-hour course provides general tobacco facts and current statistics, details about the oral manifestations of tobacco use with pictorial examples, information about the seven FDA-approved cessation medications and in-depth information about oral cancer. With knowledge gained from this education, dental professionals can better prevent, detect and treat tobacco-related disease for patients throughout Maricopa County.

The Arizona Board of Dental Examiners has listed tobacco cessation as one of the options for Arizona dental health professionals seeking to meet the state’s mandated requirement for continuing education on chemical dependency.

Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that 19.2 percent of the adult population in Arizona regularly uses tobacco, which is a significant contributing factor in the state’s leading causes of death: heart disease, stroke, cancer and pulmonary disease.

Like their medical counterparts, dental professionals are in a unique position to advise their patients about the health risks associated with tobacco use and the benefits of quitting. Research shows that even fewer than three minutes of tobacco cessation counseling with a health professional increases patient quit rates by as much as 30 percent.

For several years, course creator Carolyn Holman had taught the information to dental professionals in a classroom setting. Seeking to expand the course’s reach, she adapted it for online use. Now, dental professionals throughout Maricopa County and even further afield who would not be able to attend in-person can take the course via the Internet.




Editor’s Note: Oral health expert Carolyn Holman, R.D.H., C.D.H.C., is available for interviews. She is a registered dental hygienist who coordinates the Oral Health Tobacco Use Prevention Program for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and provides technical assistance and continuing education to dental professionals so they can assist their patients in quitting tobacco use. Carolyn’s 14 years as coordinator, time in private practice, and her previous experience as a clinical instructor in the Phoenix College Dental Hygiene Program have provided valuable insight for adapting tobacco cessation intervention strategies. Recognized as an expert in training oral health professionals on tobacco, Carolyn conducts presentations at the local, state and national level.

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