Primary Care Provider Should Intervene Early to Prevent Children Smokers: USPSTF Guidelines

By Staff Reporter, Parent Herald August 26, 12:49 pm

New guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) suggests primary care providers to offer interventions in order to help children an adolescents from smoking early on to prevent the habit from spiraling out of control.

These interventions may include educating the young patients or providing brief counseling, such as face-to-face interactions or phone calls with the doctor. "As a pediatrician, I believe that preventing tobacco use is critical in helping young people live long, healthy lives," said Task Force member David Grossman in a press release.

"The good news is that we have solid evidence primary care clinicians can help their young patients be tobacco free. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Evidence  "has shown that primary care providers can provide simple, economical, and effective interventions to help prevent tobacco use among children and teens.  Although most serious and life-threatening effects from smoking show up in adults, it is important for children and adolescents to understand that young smokers can suffer from impaired lung growth, early onset of lung deterioration, and respiratory and asthma-related symptoms," according to the statement.

The full recommendation is available here, in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In 2009, 8.2 percent of middle school students and 23.9 percent of high school students reported current use of any tobacco products. Although rates of tobacco use had been on the decline from 2000 to 2011, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, declared teen smoking an "epidemic" in March 2012.

To help prevent the young people in your life from smoking, click here for the full CDC guide, which seeks to help youth, parents and coaches understand and address the risks of tobacco use.

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