05 May USPSTF: Recommendations for Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco Use in Children and Adolescents
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Michael Silverstein M.D., M.P.H
Professor of Pediatrics
Director of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics
Vice Chair of Research, Department of Pediatrics
Boston University School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The number of children and teens who use tobacco products continues to be a major issue in the U.S., driven largely by an increase in e-cigarette use, which makes preventing tobacco use among young people critical to the health of our nation. To help prevent kids and teens from starting to use tobacco, the Task Force recommends clinicians provide behavioral interventions, such as education or brief counseling.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The Task Force understands the critical importance of helping children and teens who already use tobacco products quit, but there is unfortunately not enough evidence to make a recommendation on whether or how clinicians can achieve that goal, so we are calling for more research in this vital area.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The most important thing to remember is that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and nearly 90 percent of smokers try their first tobacco product before they turn 18. Available evidence has proven that behavioral interventions are effective in helping prevent tobacco use among children and teens, which is why the Task Force strongly recommends that clinicians provide these services for their patients. There are a variety of effective approaches that clinicians can choose from, including counseling that can be done face-to-face or by phone, and providing computer- or print-based education materials.
Until more research is available on how to help kids who already use tobacco products quit, clinicians are encouraged to use their best judgment about how best to help each individual.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Eliminating any use of tobacco products among children and teens is essential. Since there is still a critical lack of evidence in this area, we are calling for more research to help identify effective ways that clinicians can help children and teens quit using tobacco, including e-cigarettes. Additionally, research is lacking on whether interventions need to be tailored to certain groups that are known to have higher rates of tobacco use.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: The Task Force is dedicated to keeping kids healthy and recognizes that all children and teens are at risk for tobacco use. With more than one million high school and middle school students reporting that they were smokers in 2019 and more than five million using e-cigarettes, it is essential that we take action to prevent tobacco use from growing and conduct more research to identify how we can help children and teens already using tobacco products to quit.
Sargent JD, Unger JB, Leventhal AM. Recommendations From the USPSTF for Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco Use in Children and Adolescents. JAMA. 2020;323(16):1563–1564. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.22312
US Preventive Services Task Force. Primary Care Interventions for Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco Use in Children and Adolescents: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2020;323(16):1590–1598. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.4679
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