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MONDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Primary-care doctors need to provide education and counseling to help prevent children and teens from smoking, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
"As a pediatrician, I believe that preventing tobacco use is critical in helping young people live long, healthy lives," task force member Dr. David Grossman said in a USPSTF news release. "The good news is that we have solid evidence that primary-care clinicians can help their young patients be tobacco free. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Research shows that behavioral counseling can reduce the risk that children and teens will start smoking. Doctors can provide counseling to youths in person or over the phone, and individually or in family or group sessions, according to the task force, which is a government panel of experts.
The task force also said doctors can provide children and teens with antismoking educational videos and print materials, such as activity guides, newsletters, workbooks and preprinted prescription forms with anti-tobacco messages.
"Many of these interventions are simple, low-costx and can be implemented in primary care," task force member Susan Curry said in the news release. "Even very minimal educational and counseling interventions, such as mailing materials to a child's home, can help to keep children and teens from starting to smoke."
The final recommendation statement was posted Aug. 26 on the task force's website and appears online in the journal Pediatrics.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, news release, Aug. 26, 2013