Pediatricians are in a unique position to address the issues of smoking cessation with parents. Vermont pediatricians and parents of their patients were surveyed to assess attitudes about giving and receiving smoking cessation advice. A questionnaire was mailed to all pediatricians in Vermont, and 72 valid responses were received, for a response rate of 91%. Forty percent of pediatricians routinely took a smoking history from parents and 11% recorded this information in the child's chart. Most pediatricians (94%) reported advising at least 60% of smoking parents to quit, and they spent an average of 4.4 minutes doing this. Barriers to giving advice were lack of time (42%), feeling that parents did not expect advice (25%), and feeling ill at ease giving the advice (25%). Only 8.5% of pediatricians had received training in how to give smoking cessation advice, but 87% were willing to learn methods to give advice briefly. Six hundred seventy-six parents from randomly selected pediatric practices were interviewed. The average parental age was 32, and 84% were women; 49% had never smoked, 30% were former smokers, and 21% were current mokers. Current smokers were less likely to agree with statements about the adverse effects of passive smoke on children. Most parents (56%) felt that pediatricians should give quit-smoking advice to parents, and 52% of smoking parents reported that they would welcome advice. Only 30% of current smokers said advice would bother them somewhat, and 15% had more negative reactions. Parents and pediatricians agreed on the best opportunities to give quit-smoking advice. Since 91% of parents said they intended to quit smoking sometime, and since pediatrician-delivered quit-smoking advice would be acceptable to them, it would be worthwhile for pediatricians to learn methods of delivering advice succinctly.

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