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Pediatrics. 2006 Apr;117(4):e695-700.

A national survey of the acceptability of quitlines to help parents quit smoking.

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MGH Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



Provision of telephone smoking cessation counseling can increase the rate of quitting smoking. The US Public Health Service recently helped to establish a free national quitline enrollment service. No previous surveys have assessed the acceptability to parents of enrollment in quitline counseling in the context of their child's health care visits. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess acceptability to parents of enrollment in quitline counseling and to compare that with the reported rate of actually being enrolled in any smoking cessation counseling outside the office in the context of the child's health care visit.


Data were collected by a national random-digit-dial telephone survey of households from September to November 2004. The sample is weighted by race and gender on the basis of the current US Census to be representative of the US population.


Of 3615 eligible respondents contacted, 3011 (83.3%) completed surveys; 958 (31.8%) who completed the survey were parents with children under the age of 18 years. Of these parents, 187 (19.7%) were self-identified smokers. Of the parents who smoked, 113 (64.2%) said that they would accept enrollment in a telephone cessation program if the child's doctor offered it to them. In contrast, of the 122 smoking parents who accompanied their child to the doctor in the past year, only 11 (9%) had any counseling recommended to them, and only 1 (0.8%) was actually enrolled. These results did not vary by parent age, gender, race, or child age.


When interacting with parents who smoke, child health care providers have low rates of referring and enrolling parents in any services related to smoking. Enrollment in quitlines would be acceptable to the majority of parents in the context of their child's health care visit. Tobacco control efforts in the child health care setting should include implementation of office systems that can facilitate enrollment of parental smokers in telephone quitlines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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