Background: Smokers who use cessation medications when they attempt to quit double their likelihood of success. No prior survey has assessed the acceptability to parents of receiving smoking cessation medication prescriptions in the context of their child's primary care visits.
Objective: To assess acceptability to parents of receiving smoking cessation medication prescriptions and to compare that with the reported rate of actually receiving smoking cessation medication prescriptions in the context of the child's health care visit.
Methods: Data were collected through a national random-digit dial telephone survey of households from July to September 2003. The sample was weighted according to race and gender, on the basis of the 2002 US Census, to be representative of the US population.
Results: Of 3990 eligible respondents contacted, 3010 (75%) completed surveys; 1027 (34%) of those were parents. Of those parents, 211 (21%) were self-identified smokers. One half would consider using a smoking cessation medication and, of those, 85% said that it would be acceptable if the child's doctor prescribed or recommended it to them. In contrast, of the 143 smoking parents who accompanied their child to the doctor, only 15% had pharmacotherapy recommended and only 8% received a prescription for a smoking cessation medication. These results did not vary according to parent age, gender, race, or child age.
Conclusions: Child health care clinicians have low rates of recommending and prescribing cessation therapies that have proved effective in other settings. The recommendation or provision of cessation medications would be acceptable to the majority of parents in the context of their child's health care visit.