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October 1985

The Pediatrician's Obligation in Smoking Education

Author Affiliations

Surgeon General Public Health Service Department of Health and Human Services Washington, DC 20201

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(10):973. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140120019017

Vincent A. Fulginiti, chief editor of AJDC, has written that although most pediatricians agree on the importance of teaching parents and children about health care, not all are doing this effectively.1 He ascribes this to a lack of communication skills on the part of some physicians, inadequate printed materials to augment personal involvement, a tendency to substitute such materials for personal involvement, and inadequate compensation.

In my opinion, one of the pediatrician's most important educational obligations is to help and encourage parents to give up cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the chief single avoidable cause of death in our society, and the pediatrician is in a very favorable position to do something to discourage smoking. But not all of us in our medical specialty are taking advantage of the opportunity for fulfilling this responsibility, partly for the reasons that Dr Fulginiti has stated and partly because of problems peculiar