To the Editors:

I found the article “Tobacco Dependence Curricula in Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Education” (January 2002:27–33) very informative. On a weekly basis, I observe junior high school students walking to and from school smoking with their friends or by themselves. Tragically, they don’t understand the impact smoking will have on their future health. The former Surgeon General, David Kessler, MD, reports that more than 3000 teenagers will start to smoke each day. He refers to this as a “pediatric epidemic.” Over the next century, there will be half a billion tobacco-related deaths worldwide.1 

It is imperative that we educate smokers and potential smokers about the health risks associated with tobacco. Unfortunately, healthcare professionals are not currently prepared for this task. The graduate school in which I am enrolled as a public health/family nurse practitioner student addresses this issue for only 1 or 2 hours during the entire...

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