ASPPH logo


Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Temple: Study Suggests that Pediatrician Counseling, Phone Intervention Reduce Tobacco Exposure in Children

Temple University College of Public Health researchers published the results of a five-year, National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study of an intervention designed to curb the effects of secondhand smoke on children.

In The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, primary investigators Dr. Stephen Lepore, director of the Social and Behavioral Health Interventions Laboratory and professor and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Brad Collins, director of the Health Behavior Research Clinic, published the long-term results of a randomized controlled trial on their Kids Safe and Smokefree (KiSS) multi-level intervention. Dr. Donna Coffman assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, and members of Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Pediatrics, University of Arizona’s Health Promotion Sciences Department, Temple Pediatric Care, and the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania co-authored the publication.

Researchers partnered with pediatricians serving low-income neighborhoods and used the “Ask, Advise, Refer” (AAR) model, where physicians ask patients about tobacco use, advise them they should quit and refer them to services that can help them do so.

Participants — who were largely female, African American, and below the poverty level — were randomly placed into two groups: the intervention group that received AAR and counseling and a control group that received AAR and regular nutrition education.

Those in the KiSS intervention group received literature and individual telephone counseling sessions over 12 weeks that included tools and resources to help them eliminate secondhand smoke exposure for their children.

At 12 months, researchers found that those who received the KiSS phone interventions were 2.47 times more likely to quit smoking than those in the control. In addition, children of parents in both groups demonstrated lower levels of exposure to secondhand smoke at 12 months than they did before their parents started the intervention. Both the child exposure and the parent’s quit status were verified by urine cotinine tests, the most common biomarker of tobacco exposure.

“These results suggest that the pediatrician’s advice is highly motivating to the parent,” said Dr. Lepore. “We should integrate these kinds of interventions into pediatric practice — they are effective, relatively easy to implement, and scaleable.”

Read more about the study at Temple University College of Public Health.