Tobacco use and secondhand tobacco-smoke (SHS) exposure are major national and international health concerns. Pediatricians and other clinicians who care for children are uniquely positioned to assist patients and families with tobacco-use prevention and treatment. Understanding the nature and extent of tobacco use and SHS exposure is an essential first step toward the goal of eliminating tobacco use and its consequences in the pediatric population. The next steps include counseling patients and family members to avoid SHS exposures or cease tobacco use; advocacy for policies that protect children from SHS exposure; and elimination of tobacco use in the media, public places, and homes. Three overarching principles of this policy can be identified: (1) there is no safe way to use tobacco; (2) there is no safe level or duration of exposure to SHS; and (3) the financial and political power of individuals, organizations, and government should be used to support tobacco control. Pediatricians are advised not to smoke or use tobacco; to make their homes, cars, and workplaces tobacco free; to consider tobacco control when making personal and professional decisions; to support and advocate for comprehensive tobacco control; and to advise parents and patients not to start using tobacco or to quit if they are already using tobacco. Prohibiting both tobacco advertising and the use of tobacco products in the media is recommended. Recommendations for eliminating SHS exposure and reducing tobacco use include attaining universal (1) smoke-free home, car, school, work, and play environments, both inside and outside, (2) treatment of tobacco use and dependence through employer, insurance, state, and federal supports, (3) implementation and enforcement of evidence-based tobacco-control measures in local, state, national, and international jurisdictions, and (4) financial and systems support for training in and research of effective ways to prevent and treat tobacco use and SHS exposure. Pediatricians, their staff and colleagues, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have key responsibilities in tobacco control to promote the health of children, adolescents, and young adults.
- Copyright © 2009 by the American Academy of Pediatrics