In 1992, it was determined by the State Education Department that prescribing smoking cessation products was not in the scope of practice of dentistry, unless an oral condition necessitated such a prescription. More recently, the issue has again been raised by the New York State Department of Health and others involved in smoking cessation programs, and the State Education Department has been asked to review the question of the authority of dentists to issue such prescriptions.
Since 1992, there have been two legislative changes relating to dentistry that support a change in the 1992 determination. Chapter 576 of the Laws of 2001 amended section 6601 of the Education Law to include within the scope of practice of dentistry "maintaining dental health." That same year, chapter 237 of the Laws of 2001 amended section 6604-a of the Education Law to require dentists to complete, as part of their continuing education requirement, "no less than two hours of coursework and training regarding the chemical and related effects [of] usage of tobacco and tobacco products and the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of the oral health effects, including but not limited to cancers and other diseases, caused by tobacco and tobacco products...." Based on these changes in law which include "maintaining dental health" in the scope of practice of dentistry and require continuing education in the adverse health effects of tobacco use, the Department has determined that prescribing smoking cessation products is currently within the scope of practice of dentistry.