The CVS Health Foundation and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are spearheading a new initiative aimed at reducing exposure to tobacco and secondhand smoke.
The program will provide clinicians with the messages, tools and counseling protocols needed to screen for secondhand smoke exposure and better prepare them to speak with parents and families about the importance of reducing tobacco use.
While the rate of smoking among adults and youth are at all-time lows in the United States, the ultimate goal of controlling tobacco consumption as the biggest preventable cause of disease and death requires incremental progress on many fronts, including preventing exposure to secondhand smoke, especially among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 41% of children ages 3 to 11 are exposed to secondhand smoke, which even at brief levels can be harmful to a person's health.
Pursuing a further reduction in tobacco use and nicotine addiction among young people and increasing access to smoke-free environments continues to be a priority for many Americans, as evidenced by the results of a new CVS Health/Morning Consult poll. According to the national survey of 2,001 U.S. registered voters, 86% feel it's important to reduce youth smoking rates. Thirty-seven percent of all respondents say they are so concerned with exposure to secondhand smoke they exclusively seek out smoke-free locations when they leave their homes.
"With an alarming number of children still being exposed to secondhand smoke every day, working with the American Academy of Pediatrics to help educate physicians and parents and help curb exposure is an important step in our efforts to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation," said Eileen Howard Boone, president of the CVS Health Foundation. "We're honored to be working with this respected organization that has demonstrated success in helping to increase education and awareness around the dangers of secondhand smoke."
To help address these alarming trends and reduce the prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure, the AAP will hold two in-person training sessions in 2016 for pediatricians and other child health clinicians, who act as the primary source of medical information for parents.
A $110,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation to AAP will cover the costs of the meetings, which will feature content produced by the AAP.
Each session will help healthcare professionals implement proven, easy-to-use ways to better counsel parents on the importance of quitting smoking and the use of other tobacco products and how to ensure all places where children spend time are smoke-and tobacco-free. In addition to access to in-person training sessions, participants will also be provided with easy-to-use tools, such as online resources and other content.
"Most parents who smoke know that secondhand smoke is harmful to children and other nonsmokers," said Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, CEO/executive director of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "The American Academy of Pediatrics is committed to equipping pediatricians with the tools they need to educate parents and help families reduce children's exposure to second hand smoke across the country. This grant through the CVS Health Foundation will help us bring our evidence-based guidance to more physicians in high-impact training sessions."
The grant to the AAP is part of Be The First, CVS Health's $50 million, five-year initiative to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation. The initiative, announced in March 2016, includes education, tobacco-control advocacy and healthy behavior programming.