Addressing passive smoking in children

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BACKGROUND: A significant number of parents are unaware or unconvinced of the health consequences of passive smoking (PS) in children. Physicians could increase parental awareness by giving personal advice.<br /><br />AIM: To evaluate the current practices of three Dutch health professions (paediatricians, youth health care physicians, and family physicians) regarding parental counselling for passive smoking (PS) in children.<br /><br />METHODS: All physicians (n = 720) representing the three health professions in Limburg, The Netherlands, received an invitation to complete a self-administered electronic questionnaire including questions on their: sex, work experience, personal smoking habits, counselling practices and education regarding PS in children.<br /><br />RESULTS: The response rate was 34%. One tenth (11%) of the responding physicians always addressed PS in children, 32% often, 54% occasionally and 4% reported to never attend to it. The three health professions appeared comparable regarding their frequency of parental counselling for PS in children. Addressing PS was more likely when children had respiratory problems. Lack of time was the most frequently mentioned barrier, being very and somewhat applicable for respectively 14% and 43% of the physicians. One fourth of the responders had received postgraduate education about PS. Additionally, 49% of the responders who did not have any education about PS were interested in receiving it.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: Physicians working in the paediatric field in Limburg, The Netherlands, could more frequently address PS in children with parents. Lack of time appeared to be the most mentioned barrier and physicians were more likely to counsel parents for PS in children with respiratory complaints/diseases. Finally, a need for more education on parental counselling for PS was expressed.




Hutchinson, S. G., Kuijlaars, J. S., Mesters, I., Muris, J. W. M., Van Schayck, C. P., Dompeling, E., & Feron, F. J. M. (2014). Addressing passive smoking in children. PLoS ONE, 9(5).

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