Summary of recommendations for clinicians and policy-makers

These recommendations apply to children and youth (5-18 years) and/or their parents who are concerned about the potential for a child or youth to start smoking. These recommendations do not apply to individuals who have cognitive deficits, mental or physical health issues, or a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

The CTFPHC based the recommendations on the overall balance between the possible benefits and harms of preventive and treatment interventions, weighing the potential benefits of prevention and treatment against any harms.

The CTFPHC will continue to carefully monitor the scientific developments in the prevention and treatment of cigarette smoking in children and youth and will report back to Canadians within 5 years with an update of the 2017 guidelines.

Recommendations

Prevention
  • For children and youth (5-18 years) who do not currently smoke tobacco, whether they have never smoked or are former smokers, we recommend an intervention asking children and youth or their parents about tobacco use and offering brief* information and advice at appropriate primary care visits ** to prevent tobacco smoking.
    Weak recommendation, low quality evidence.
Treatment
  • For children and youth (5-18 years) who have smoked tobacco within the past 30 days we recommend asking children and youth and/or their parents about tobacco use by the child or youth and offering brief* information and advice at appropriate primary care visits ** to treat tobacco smoking.
    Weak recommendation, low quality evidence.

* Contact time with primary care clinician of up to 5 minutes. Advice may include verbal communication about patient attitudes and beliefs, risks of smoking, and/or strategies for dealing with the influence of peers, sharing of printed or electronic material.

**Appropriate primary care visits include scheduled health supervision visits, visits for immunizations or medication renewal, episodic care or acute illness, and other visits where the primary care practitioner deems it appropriate, conducted in primary health care or community settings.

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