Evaluation of tobacco screening and counseling in a large, midwestern pediatric emergency department

Ashley L. Merianos, Judith S. Gordon, Michael S. Lyons, Roman A. Jandarov, E. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION The study objective was to assess tobacco screening and cessation counseling practices of pediatric emergency department (PED) and urgent care (UC) nurses and physicians, and factors associated with these practices. Secondarily, we assessed factors associated with performing tobacco smoke exposure reduction and tobacco cessation counseling. METHODS We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 30 PED/UC nurses and physicians working at one large, urban, Midwestern children’s hospital. Measures included current practices of performing the 5 As of tobacco counseling (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, Arrange), and attitude and practice factors that may influence practices. RESULTS Overall, 90.0% of participants had not received recent tobacco counseling training, 73.3% were unaware of the 5 As, and 63.3% did not have a standardized, routine screening system to identify patients exposed to secondhand smoke. The majority of participants reported that they: asked about patients’ secondhand smoke exposure status (70.0%) and parents’ tobacco use status (53.3%), and advised parental smokers to not smoke around their child (70.0%) and to quit smoking (50%). One in five participants reported they assessed smokers’ interest in quitting smoking, and 16.7% talked with smokers about cessation techniques and tactics; of these, 10% referred/enrolled smokers to the Tobacco Quitline or cessation program, and 6.7% made a quit plan or recommended nicotine replacement therapy medication. CONCLUSIONS Key findings identified are the need for professional tobacco counseling training, standardizing efforts during visits, and emphasizing pediatric patients’ potential health benefits. This information will be used for developing a PED/ UC-based parental tobacco cessation and child tobacco smoke exposure reduction intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalTobacco Prevention and Cessation
StatePublished - May 2021


  • child health
  • emergency department
  • parents
  • practice guideline
  • smoking cessation
  • tobacco use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


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