Pediatricians Don't Counsel Parents to Kick Smoking Habit
Although secondhand smoke
is a major cause of disease in young children, many pediatricians are reluctant to broach
the subject of smoking cessation with parents who smoke, according a UCSF study.
Many pediatricians feel that they lack the
training to counsel parents who smoke, even though quitting may be one of the best things
a parent can do for the health of his or her child, found the study led by Eliseo
Perez-Stable, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the division of general internal
The study in the January issue of the Archives of
Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine surveyed some 500 pediatricians and family physicians
in urban areas of California about their knowledge and practice of smoking cessation
counseling with parents. Researchers found that family physicians compared to
pediatricians were more likely to refer a parent to a stop smoking program, distribute
pamphlets on smoking cessation and schedule follow up visits to discuss quitting.
Pediatricians were more likely than family
physicians to note in medical records smoking by a parent as a problem for the child (65%
to 48%), but a higher percentage of pediatricians felt that parents would ignore advice
(39% to 24%) and lacked interest in quitting (45% to 27%).
One-fourth of the pediatricians surveyed felt
they lacked smoking cessation counseling skills.
Overall, 37% of pediatricians and 41% of family
physicians agreed that counseling and referring parents to smoking cessation programs
would be time-consuming.