Tobacco dependence starts in childhood. Tobacco exposure of children is common and causes illness and premature death in children and adults, with adverse effects starting in the womb. There is no safe level of tobacco smoke exposure. Pediatricians should screen for use of tobacco and other nicotine delivery devices and provide anticipatory guidance to prevent smoking initiation and reduce tobacco smoke exposure. Pediatricians need to be aware of the different nicotine delivery systems marketed and available.
Parents and caregivers are important sources of children’s tobacco smoke exposure. Because tobacco dependence is a severe addiction, to protect children’s health, caregiver tobacco dependence treatment should be offered or referral for treatment should be provided (such as referral to the national smoker’s quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW). If the source of tobacco exposure cannot be eliminated, counseling about reducing exposure to children should be provided.
Health care delivery systems should facilitate the effective prevention, identification, and treatment of tobacco dependence in children and adolescents, their parents, and other caregivers. Health care facilities should protect children from tobacco smoke exposure and tobacco promotion. Tobacco dependence prevention and treatment should be part of medical education, with knowledge assessed as part of board certification examinations.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics