Smoking Cessation Counseling for Parents During Child Hospitalization: A National Survey of Pediatric Nurses


Alan C. Geller, Kresge Building, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Objective: Given the central role played by pediatric nurses in intake assessment, discharge planning, and education for families of hospitalized pediatric patients, a child's hospitalization may provide a unique opportunity for counseling parents about smoking. We sought to determine if hospital policies can support nurses in effectively counseling parents about smoking.

Design and Sample: We conducted a national survey of pediatric staff nurses and administrators/educators who were members of the Society of Pediatric Nurses in 2008 (n=888) to explore counseling practices for tobacco control.

Measures: Questionnaires included data on demographics, personal and work environment characteristics, hospital policy characteristics, work attitudes and barriers and the main outcome—5As for smoking cessation counseling—Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange.

Results: Overall, routine screening for household smokers was most common (43%), followed by advice to quit (25%), assessing willingness to quit (19%), assisting with a quit plan (6%), and arranging follow-up contact (3%). Nurses working in hospitals with admission assessments specifically asking about household members who smoke were 7 times more likely than those without such assessments to routinely ask about smoking (OR: 7.2, 95% CI: 4.9–10.5).

Conclusion: Future research should test the efficacy of developing comprehensive hospital-wide policies to deliver smoking cessation for parents during a child's hospitalization.