Quitting smoking is one of the best things parents can do for their
health and the health of their children. Now they can get assistance
from an unexpected source - their child’s pediatrician.
A new resource offers pediatricians the tools they need to screen
parents for smoking, offer counseling and enroll parents in a free
smoking-cessation helpline. Using the existing state quit line known as
“QuitWorks,” Massachusetts is promoting “QuitWorks for Child and Family
Health Care Practitioners” statewide this month. The program is based on
research from the Clinical Effort Against Secondhand Smoke Exposure
(CEASE) program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which is
also available free to other public health departments and pediatric
offices across the nation.
Because of their regular, frequent contacts with families, pediatricians
are uniquely positioned to help parents quit smoking, said Jonathan
Winickoff, MD, FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics at MassGeneral
Hospital for Children and founder of CEASE.
“Tobacco use is a serious health issue for all members of a family,”
Winickoff said. “We’re getting the biggest return on our investment by
targeting parents who smoke. Not only do we hope to reduce children’s
exposure to second-hand and third-hand smoke, but if more parents quit
smoking, fewer children will grow up to be smokers.”
CEASE is available through the AAP Julius B. Richmond Center of
Excellence, whose mission is to improve child health by eliminating
children’s exposure to secondhand smoke and tobacco. The Massachusetts
Department of Public Health worked with the Massachusetts chapter of AAP
to incorporate CEASE materials into the QuitWorks program for statewide
Carole Allen, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP Massachusetts chapter, said
local pediatricians are enthusiastic about implementing parent-focused
smoking cessation strategies in their practices. “If you smoke, the best
way to protect your child’s health is to quit,” said Allen. “Now
pediatricians can do more than just tell you to quit-they can help you
to quit. It’s a big difference.”
Massachusetts is the first state to deliver CEASE materials to all
pediatric offices. The module can be adapted to suit any state’s smoking
“The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that every state should
invest some of its tobacco control resources in programs that will help
pediatricians help parents protect children from secondhand smoke,” said
Dr. David T. Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP, president of the AAP, which
represents more than 60,000 pediatricians.
For more information about CEASE and other resources for clinicians and
families, see http://www.aap.org/richmondcenter/resources.html . To see a
video demonstration of the program, visit http://www.ceasetobacco.org.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.