A parental smoking cessation intervention in the pediatric emergency setting: A randomized trial

E. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens, Robert T. Ammerman, Jane C. Khoury, Meredith E. Tabangin, Lili Ding, Ashley L. Merianos, Lara Stone, Judith S. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We examined the efficacy of a pediatric emergency visit-based screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) condition compared to a control condition (Healthy Habits Control, HHC) to help parental smokers quit smoking. We enrolled 750 parental smokers who presented to the pediatric emergency setting with their child into a two-group randomized controlled clinical trial. SBIRT participants received brief cessation coaching, quitting resources, and up to 12-weeks of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). HHC participants received healthy lifestyle coaching and resources. The primary outcome was point-prevalence tobacco abstinence at six weeks (T1) and six months (T2). The mean (SD) age of parents was 31.8 (7.7) years, and 86.8% were female, 52.7% were Black, and 64.6% had an income of ≤$15,000. Overall abstinence rates were not statistically significant with 4.2% in both groups at T1 and 12.9% and 8.3% in the SBIRT and HHC groups, respectively, at T2. There were statistically significant differences in SBIRT versus HHC participants on the median (IQR) reduction of daily cigarettes smoked at T1 from baseline (−2 [−5, 0] versus 0 [−4, 0], p = 0.0008),at T2 from baseline (−4 [−9, −1] vs. −2 [−5, 0], p = 0.0006), and on the mean (SD) number of quit attempts at T2 from baseline (1.25 (6.5) vs. 0.02 (4.71), p = 0.02). Self-reported quitting rates were higher in SBIRT parents who received NRT (83.3% vs. 50.9%, p = 0.04). The novel use of the pediatric emergency visit to conduct cessation interventions helped parents quit smoking. The near equivalent abstinence rates in both the SBIRT and HHC groups may be due to underlying parental concern about their child’s health. Cessation interventions in this setting may result in adult and pediatric public health benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8151
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Cessation
  • Emergency department
  • Parents
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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