A five-year-old is just the right age to be warned about the dangers of smoking, according to a new American policy based on the latest research.
Kids should be warned about tobacco by the time they get to kindergarten, about eight years earlier than the previous policy suggested, the American Academy of Peadiatricians (AAP) said today.
The new policy came about by looking at all available literature and research, as well as the opinions of the best experts around. The policy also came from a recognition that peadiatricians have a greater role to play in smoking tobacco use, prevention and cessation.
The policy is also designed to show that preventing kids from smoking is a lifetime effort. Peadiatricians should advise pregnant mothers of the dangers of smoking, assess family smoking, be alert to the health effects caused by secondhand smoke and talk to kids confidentially about tobacco, alcohol and drug use.
They should ask parents about smoking, ask children if they are exposed to smoking, ask teen-agers if they are smoking, and then ask if they can help them to quit.
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