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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2000 May 30;120(14):1622-6.

[Why do health personnel neglect to 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.



Health personnel make only moderate efforts at motivating parents to establish a smoke-free indoor environment for babies and infants. It is only when children show symptoms of exposure to tobacco smoke that they routinely raise the question of passive smoking during consultations with the parents. We wanted to find out why so many neglect to raise the matter when there is still time to prevent injury to the child.


A pre-categorised questionnaire on possible obstacles to involvement in the matter was mailed to a representative sample of 1050 GPs, the senior midwives at Norway's 77 maternity departments, 492 senior public health nurses, and personnel at 1024 mother-and-child clinics. The response rate varied from 71% (GPs) to 82% (senior midwives).


Public health nurses, midwives and doctors at the clinics regard it as part of their work to talk to parents about the possible effects of passive smoking on their children's health. The obstacles are a feeling of embarrassment at raising the matter, and not knowing how to talk to the parents about the problem. Even so, a clear majority experience a positive response from smoking parents when they discuss how to prevent the children from inhaling tobacco smoke. Among the GPs the main reason for not raising the matter is lack of time, followed by embarrassment at taking it up and lack of knowledge about the health risks.


Health personnel seem to need training in conversation techniques in this connection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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