Title

Physician communication regarding smoking and adolescent tobacco use

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Physician advice increases quit rates 1% to 3% above unassisted quit rates among adults, an increase sufficient to be ranked as a high-priority, evidence-based preventive service. However, there is little research on the potential impact of physician advice on adolescent smoking. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between recalled physician communication and adolescents' attitudes toward smoking, knowledge about smoking, intentions to smoke, tobacco use, and quitting behaviors. METHODS: This study was a retrospective observational study of 5154 students (82.9% black, 17.1% white) from an urban, mid-South school system. Outcome variables included adolescents' self-rated attitudes toward smoking, knowledge about smoking, intentions to smoke, tobacco use, and quitting behaviors. RESULTS: Physician advice and the combination of screening and advice were associated with healthier attitudes about smoking. Physician screening and advice were also associated with a more accurate knowledge regarding tobacco-related damage. Among current smokers, recalled physician advice was also associated with reduced intentions to smoke in 5 years. Importantly, advised teens were more likely to plan to quit smoking in 6 months. Furthermore, teens who were screened by their physician reported significantly more quit attempts than those who were neither screened nor advised (P = .007). CONCLUSIONS: Physician's tobacco-related interactions with adolescents seemed to positively impact their attitudes, knowledge, intentions to smoke, and quitting behaviors. Brief physician interventions have the potential to be a key intervention on a public health level through the prevention, cessation, and reduction of smoking and smoking-related disease. Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Publication Title

Pediatrics

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