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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Teen Smoking - Good News and Bad News

By May 16, 2011

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A new study that is going to be published in the June issue of Pediatrics, 'Physician Communication Regarding Smoking and Adolescent Tobacco Use,' has some good news about teen smoking.

The study found that '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.'

These interventions can include:

  • screening teens for use of tobacco (simply asking teens if they smoke)
  • advising teens to quit smoking or never start smoking
  • both screening for tobacco use and advising teens to not smoke

The good news is that the study found that 'Physician's tobacco-related interactions with adolescents seemed to positively impact their attitudes, knowledge, intentions to smoke, and quitting behaviors. '

What's the bad news?

Almost half of the teens in the study reported that they smoked. Some of them just smoked a few times, but 10 to 20 percent of the teens smoked at least once a week or once a month. Even more concerning, about 15 percent of the teens smoked at least 1 cigarette a day.

Do you talk to your kids about smoking? Does your pediatrician?

It is obvious that someone should be, and the results of this study should help pediatricians understand that any time they spend talking about smoking, even though they have plenty of other things to talk about, will be time well spent.

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