Physician advice on avoiding secondhand smoke exposure and referrals for smoking cessation services
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, Atlanta, USA
Submission date: 2011-12-24
Acceptance date: 2012-06-09
Publication date: 2012-07-02
Corresponding author
Judy Kruger   

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 4770 Buford Highway, M/S-K-50, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA
Tobacco Induced Diseases 2012;10(July):10
Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure causes premature death and disease. Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from SHS exposure, and also contributes to helping smokers quit smoking. Primary health care providers can play an important role in advising nonsmoking patients to avoid SHS exposure, cautioning current smokers against exposing others to SHS, and referring tobacco users to cessation programs.

The purpose of this paper is to examine primary care provider (obstetricians/gynecologists, pediatricians, and general practitioners) advice regarding SHS exposure and referral to cessation programs. Using data from the 2008 DocStyles survey (n = 1,454), we calculated the prevalence and adjusted odds ratios for offering patients advice regarding SHS exposure and referring adults who smoked or used other tobacco products to a cessation program.

The current study found that among a convenience sample of primary care providers, 94.9% encouraged parents to take steps to protect children from SHS exposure, 86.1% encouraged smokers to make their homes and cars smoke-free, and 77.4% encouraged nonsmokers to avoid SHS exposure. Approximately 44.0% of primary care providers usually or always referred patients who smoked or used tobacco products to cessation programs such as a quitline, a group cessation class, or one-on-one counseling.

Findings from a convenience sample of primary care providers who participated in a web-based survey, suggests that many primary care providers are advising parents to protect children from SHS exposure, encouraging patients who smoke to maintain smoke-free homes and cars, and advising smokers on ways to avoid exposing others to SHS. Healthcare providers are encouraged to advise patients to avoid SHS exposure and to refer patients who use tobacco products to cessation services.

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