Pediatricians' Confidence and Behaviors in Smoking Cessation Promotion and Knowledge of the Smoking Cessation Trust

Ochsner J. 2016 Summer;16(2):130-5.


Background: Secondhand smoke exposure increases morbidity and mortality in children. Thirty-one percent of caregivers who accompany their children to the Ochsner Health Center for Children smoke, and none uses the services of the Smoking Cessation Trust (SCT), a free smoking cessation program for eligible Louisiana residents who began smoking before 1988. The objective of this study was 2-fold: first, to assess and compare pediatricians' confidence and behaviors in regard to smoking cessation promotion with caregivers, and second, to determine pediatricians' knowledge and comfort level with the SCT.

Methods: Pediatricians were given a questionnaire to assess 12 parameters regarding their confidence and practice when screening, counseling, and referring caregivers to smoking cessation programs.

Results: Thirty-six questionnaires were administered, of which 27 were completed (75%). Only 7.41% of respondents had formal training in smoking cessation, 18.52% had never heard of the SCT, and 92.59% do not refer to the SCT. All the pediatrician respondents stated that they were confident in their ability to screen for secondhand smoke exposure, 62.96% were confident in providing counseling, and 44.44% were confident in offering referrals. Most pediatricians very often or always screened for secondhand smoke exposure (77.78%); however, only 25.93% counseled smoking caregivers to quit, and only 11.11% provided a smoking cessation referral. Pediatricians stated that they were confident to screen, counsel, and refer caregivers; however, they were significantly less likely to report actually screening for secondhand smoke exposure (P<0.05), counseling (P<0.05), and referring caregivers (P<0.05).

Conclusion: Efforts should be made to increase the rate by which pediatricians provide smoking cessation, counseling, and referrals to the SCT through education and training.

Keywords: Smoking; smoking cessation; tobacco smoke pollution; tobacco use cessation.