Introduction: Initiating tobacco use in adolescence increases the risk of nicotine dependence and continued use into adulthood. Primary care visits provide opportunities for the assessment and treatment of tobacco use; however, little is known about prevalence and correlates of assessing smoking status and current use among adolescents in these settings. Aims and Methods: Using electronic health record data from the OCHIN network, we identified adolescents with greater than or equal to one primary care visit to a study clinic (n = 366 clinics from 15 US states) during January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017. We estimated odds ratios of smoking assessment and current smoking status by patient covariates. Results: Of 140 887 patients, 87.4% were assessed for smoking. Being Latino or Black (adjusted odds ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval: 1.13-1.32; adjusted odds ratio = 1.17, 95% confidence interval: 1.07-1.29, respectively, vs. non-Hispanic White), publicly insured, having more visits, and having an asthma diagnosis or other respiratory symptoms were associated with higher odds of assessment. Odds were lower if the patient was male and uninsured. Of those assessed, 1.6% identified as current smokers. Being older, having more visits, an asthma diagnosis, other respiratory symptoms, and lower household income was associated with higher odds of being a current smoker. Latinos and Blacks had lower odds than non-Hispanic Whites. Conclusions: Although some commonly reported tobacco-related disparities were not present, smoking assessment and current smoking status differed significantly by most patient demographics. Implementation of adolescent tobacco assessment protocols and the development of interventions to target subpopulations of adolescents with higher rates of smoking could mitigate disparate rates of assessment and smoking, respectively. Implications: Clinical guidelines recommend screening adolescents for tobacco use in primary care settings. We found that most adolescents seen in US safety-net primary care clinics were assessed for smoking. We also found that smoking assessment and current smoking status differed significantly by most patient demographics. Implementing tobacco assessment protocols specific to adolescents could mitigate disparate rates of assessment and ensure accurate documentation of all forms of tobacco use, given the evolution of alternative tobacco products and poly use among adolescents. Interventions to target subpopulations of adolescents with higher smoking rates are needed to prevent the negative health effects of continued smoking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health