Battle against cigarette smoking is encouraging but more research is needed on most effective interventions for use in primary care
OTTAWA, ON, February 27, 2017 – Today the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) released its first guideline on smoking in children and youth. The Task Force calls on physicians to take a more active role in the prevention and treatment of cigarette smoking in children and youth aged five to 18 years of age. The guideline is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Among Canadian youth in grades 6 to 12, 18% have tried cigarettes, increasing from 3% of 6th graders to 36% of 12th graders,  and while there has been improvement over the last decades, many children and youth continue to smoke. Almost 90 per cent of adult smokers first smoked tobacco by age 18. Half of these smokers will suffer and die from diseases caused by smoking: lung cancer, other respiratory, digestive and urinary tract cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
“Advice from primary care physicians and allied healthcare professionals is just one tool in the toolkit that can be used in the prevention and treatment of smoking among children and youth, but it is a crucial one. We have no doubt doctors can work effectively alongside governments, parents and schools to provide education on the harmful effects of smoking,” said Dr. Brett Thombs, chair-elect of the CTFPHC and chair of the guideline working group. “However, more research is needed to identify the most effective ways for doctors to do this.”
The guideline was developed by the CTFPHC, an independent body of primary care and prevention experts who evaluated the strength and quality of evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of behavioural interventions (e.g. information and counselling) applicable to primary care settings. The recommendations reflect stakeholder preferences and values regarding interventions for prevention and cessation of tobacco smoking among children
The CTFPHC recommends asking children and youth (5-18 years) or their parents about tobacco use by the child or youth and offering brief information and advice as appropriate during primary care visits to either prevent the initiation of, or treat tobacco smoking among children and youth who have smoked in the last 30 days.
For the complete report and details on the CTFPHC’s findings and recommendations and accompanying clinician FAQ tool, please visit: www.canadiantaskforce.ca
About the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) was established to develop clinical practice guidelines that support primary care providers in delivering preventive health care. The mandate of CTFPHC is to develop and disseminate clinical practice guidelines for primary and preventive care, based on systematic analysis of scientific evidence.
For more information, or to schedule an interview with a member of the Task Force, please contact:
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Youth and tobacco use. 2016; Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/tobacco_use/. Accessed October 18, 2016.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2014; Available at: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress/. Accessed October 18, 2016.
 Health Canada. Smoking and your body.2011; Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/body-corps/index-eng.php. Accessed October 18, 2016. Rehm J, Baliunas D, Brochu S, Fischer B, Gnam W, Patra J, et al. The Costs of Substance Abuse in Canada 2002. 20065; Available at: http//www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Lobrary/ccsa-011332-2006.pdf. Accessed October 18, 2016.