Provision of free nicotine replacement therapy to parental smokers in the pediatric emergency setting

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction Although the administration of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is effective in helping smokers quit, the feasibility, acceptability and safety of this practice have not been examined in the emergency setting of the pediatric emergency department (PED) or urgent care (UC). We examined the characteristics of parental smokers who were interested and eligible for free NRT during their child’s emergency visit and the uptake, usage, and associated side effects of NRT use. Methods We analyzed data from 377 parental smokers who were randomized to receive cessation counseling and free NRT as part of an emergency visit-based randomized controlled trial. Parents interested in NRT were screened for medical contraindications; eligible parents were given a 6-week supply of NRT patches or lozenges during their child’s emergency visit and offered another supply 6 weeks later. We conducted Wilcoxon rank-sum tests and chi-squared tests to address our main study objective. Results The majority of parents were female (87.5%), non-Hispanic Black (52.5%), and mean (SD) age was 33.1 (8.2) years. A total of 252 (66.8%) parents were interested in receiving NRT. Compared to uninterested parents, interested parents were more likely to: be older [33.6 (8.2) vs 31.9 (8.2), years]; be non-Hispanic Black (54.0% vs 49.6%); have older children [5.5 (5.0) vs 4.2 (4.6)]; have a higher readiness to quit [7.0 (2.4) vs 5.2 (2.6)]; and have a child being evaluated in UC compared to the PED (72.4% vs 56.5%). A total of 53 (21%) interested parents had >1 NRT contraindications. At 6 weeks, 94 (79.0%) parents reported some ≥NRT usage and 50 (53.2%) requested an additional 6-week supply. There were no serious adverse events and 5 (5.3%) reported minor side effects. Conclusions Parental smokers in the emergency setting are interested in receiving free NRT, the majority use it, and use is not associated with adverse side effects. The emergency visit may be an optimal time to offer NRT to parental smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalTobacco Prevention and Cessation
StatePublished - May 2020


  • nicotine dependence
  • nicotine replacement therapy
  • tobacco
  • tobacco-use cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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