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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2000 May 30;120(14):1616-21.

[Do health personnel talk about passive smoking with parents of small children?].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Avdeling for samfunnsmedisin Statens institutt for folkehelse, Torshov, Oslo.



Almost seven out of ten parents who smoke state that they have never received information on passive smoking from health personnel when they bring their children in for routine medical examination. We examined what GPs, doctors and nurses at mother-and-child clinics and midwives reported.


A self-administered questionnaire focusing on practice as regards the matter of passive smoking and children was mailed to a representative sample of 1050 GPs, the senior midwives at Norway's 77 maternity departments, 492 senior public health nurses, and health personnel at 1024 mother-and-child clinics. The response rate varied from 71% (GPs) to 82% (senior midwives).


70% of the personnel at mother-and-child clinics less often than "always" ask about exposure to passive smoking. 60% of the senior midwives report that the department's personnel less than "to a large extent" allocate time to talk with parents about passive smoking. 40% of the GPs and 50% of the paediatricians say that they "never" bring up the matter of passive smoking when they examine small children and do not know whether members of the household smoke or not. The rest of the GPs bring up the matter in 46% of consultations and the rest of the paediatricians in 63% of consultations. When the child has symptoms that can be associated with passive smoking, the GPs discuss the parents' smoking habits in 88% of the consultations and paediatricians in 100% of consultations.


Only to a small extent do health personnel use their opportunities of motivating parents to change their smoking habits for the sake of the health of their children. Smoking is only brought up by professionals as a matter routine when the children develop symptoms of exposure to tobacco smoke.

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