Objective: Pediatricians have a great opportunity to intervene in parental smoking, but few do so consistently. Pediatricians consistently cite concern about negative parental reaction as one barrier to addressing parental smoking. This study investigated parent attitudes about pediatricians addressing parental smoking at pediatric visits.
Methods: Parents (N = 341) were interviewed immediately after a pediatric visit about their attitudes toward pediatricians addressing parental smoking. Chi-square analyses identified relevant factors in parents' responses.
Results: Most parents (99%; n = 337) said that asking about smoking is a very important part of a pediatrician's job (89%; n = 302) or felt that it did not matter one way or the other (10%; n = 35). There was no difference between attitudes of smoking and nonsmoking parents on this variable (chi(2) = 5.9, df = 1, P >.05). Very few nonsmokers (1%; n = 2) or smokers (5%; n = 2) believed that pediatricians have no business asking about parental smoking. The results support recent reports from adult practice that patient satisfaction ratings are improved when physicians ask about tobacco use and advise about quitting.
Conclusions: Both smoking and nonsmoking parents strongly believe that pediatricians should address parental smoking in the context of pediatric visits.