New evidence showed primary care providers could provide simple, economical and effective interventions to help prevent tobacco use among children and teens, a statement by the task force said.
"Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Children are especially susceptible to smoking experimentation and initiation, with more than 3,800 children smoking their first cigarette between the ages of 12-17," the statement said.
The task force recommended behavioral counseling with a healthcare professional either face-to-face or by phone, reading materials, computer applications and videos.
"Although most serious and life-threatening effects from smoking show up in adults, it is important for children and adolescents to understand that young smokers can suffer from impaired lung growth, early onset of lung deterioration, and respiratory and asthma-related symptoms," the findings said.
The statement, published online in the journal Pediatrics, concluded primary care clinicians can make a difference in helping young patients make a choice to not use tobacco.
"The evidence proves that these interventions can be successful in preventing tobacco use, and help children and teens live long, healthy lives," the statement said.