Action to Achieve Smoke-Free Homes—An Exploration of Experts' Views

Nursing Studies, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, UK.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.26). 05/2009; 9(1):112. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-112
Source: PubMed


Smoking in the home is the major cause of exposure to second-hand smoke in children in the UK, particularly those living in low income households which have fewer restrictions on smoking in the home. Reducing children's exposure to second-hand smoke is an important public health and inequalities issue. Drawing on findings from a qualitative Scottish study, this paper identifies key issues and challenges that need to be considered when developing action to promote smoke-free homes at the national and local level.
Two panels of tobacco control experts (local and national) from Scotland considered the implications of the findings from a qualitative study of smokers and non-smokers (who were interviewed about smoking in the home), for future action on reducing smoking in the home.
Several key themes emerged through the expert panel discussions. These related to: improving knowledge about SHS among carers and professionals; the goal and approach of future interventions (incremental/harm reduction or total restrictions); the complexity of the interventions; and issues around protecting children.
The expert panels were very aware of the sensitivities around the boundary between the 'private' home and public health interventions; but also the lack of evidence on the relative effectiveness of specific individual and community approaches on increasing restrictions on smoking in the home. Future action on smoke-free homes needs to consider and address these complexities. In particular health professionals and other key stakeholders need appropriate training on the issues around smoking in the home and how to address these, as well as for more research to evaluate interventions and develop a more robust evidence base to inform effective action on this issue.

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    • "This study’s findings are relevant to issues of childhood agency discussed by others [49]. Panel discussions with experts of tobacco control and community development revealed themes of children's levels of agency and their power in reducing their exposure to second-hand smoke in the home [49]. In fact, children were seen as potential agents of change and it was suggested that the voices of children towards their caregivers are potentially central in creating smoke-free homes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Successful cancer prevention policies and programming for youth must be based on a solid understanding of youth’s conceptualization of cancer and cancer prevention. Accordingly, a qualitative study examining youth’s perspectives of cancer and its prevention was undertaken. Not surprisingly, smoking (i.e., tobacco cigarette smoking) was one of the dominant lines of discourse in the youth’s narratives. This paper reports findings of how youth conceptualize smoking with attention to their perspectives on parental and family-related smoking issues and experiences. Methods Seventy-five Canadian youth ranging in age from 11–19 years participated in the study. Six of the 75 youth had a history of smoking and 29 had parents with a history of smoking. Youth were involved in traditional ethnographic methods of interviewing and photovoice. Data analysis involved multiple levels of analysis congruent with ethnography. Results Youth’s perspectives of parents and other family members’ cigarette smoking around them was salient as represented by the theme: It’s not fair. Youth struggled to make sense of why parents would smoke around their children and perceived their smoking as an unjust act. The theme was supported by four subthemes: 1) parenting the parent about the dangers of smoking; 2) the good/bad parent; 3) distancing family relationships; and 4) the prisoner. Instead of being talked to about smoking it was more common for youth to share stories of talking to their parents about the dangers of smoking. Parents who did not smoke were seen by youth as the good parent, as opposed to the bad parent who smoked. Smoking was an agent that altered relationships with parents and other family members. Youth who lived in homes where they were exposed to cigarette smoke felt like a trapped prisoner. Conclusions Further research is needed to investigate youth’s perceptions about parental cigarette smoking as well as possible linkages between youth exposed to second hand smoke in their home environment and emotional and lifestyle-related health difficulties. Results emphasize the relational impact of smoking when developing anti-tobacco and cancer prevention campaigns. Recognizing the potential toll that second-hand smoke can have on youth’s emotional well-being, health care professionals are encouraged to give youth positive messages in coping with their parents’ smoking behaviour.
    BMC Public Health 11/2012; 12(1):965. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-965 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Hence, efforts to encourage smoke-free homes are crucial in attempting to reduce health inequalities. Legislation against smoking in the home is unlikely to prove acceptable,30 and reducing inequalities in exposure may require intervention to support adoption of voluntary smoking restrictions in lower SES households.31,32 However, extending legislation to cars carrying children, as introduced in Australia,33 and for which there appears to be significant public support in the UK,34,35 may contribute to reducing inequalities. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure is higher among lower socioeconomic status (SES) children. Legislation restricting smoking in public places has been associated with reduced childhood SHS exposure and increased smoke-free homes. This paper examines socioeconomic patterning in these changes. Methods Repeated cross-sectional survey of 10 867 schoolchildren in 304 primary schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Children provided saliva for cotinine assay, completing questionnaires before and 12 months after legislation. Results SHS exposure was highest, and private smoking restrictions least frequently reported, among lower SES children. Proportions of saliva samples containing <0.1 ng/ml (i.e. undetectable) cotinine increased from 31.0 to 41.0%. Although across the whole SES spectrum, there was no evidence of displacement of smoking into the home or increased SHS exposure, socioeconomic inequality in the likelihood of samples containing detectable levels of cotinine increased. Among children from the poorest families, 96.9% of post-legislation samples contained detectable cotinine, compared with 38.2% among the most affluent. Socioeconomic gradients at higher exposure levels remained unchanged. Among children from the poorest families, one in three samples contained >3 ng/ml cotinine. Smoking restrictions in homes and cars increased, although socioeconomic patterning remained. Conclusions Urgent action is needed to reduce inequalities in SHS exposure. Such action should include emphasis on reducing smoking in cars and homes.
    Journal of Public Health 03/2012; 34(4). DOI:10.1093/pubmed/fds025 · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    • "The extent to which central governments and local authorities should go to protect children from smoking is contested [27-31]. In Australia 'the protection of vulnerable children ... [has been] a powerful and persuasive theme' in achieving smokefree car laws,[32] but most countries do not yet have such laws. "
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    ABSTRACT: Governments use law to constrain aspects of private activities for purposes of protecting health and social wellbeing. Policymakers have a range of perceptions and beliefs about what is public or private. An understanding of the possible drivers of policymaker decisions about where government can or should intervene for health is important, as one way to better guide appropriate policy formation. Our aim was to identify obstacles to, and opportunities for, government smokefree regulation of private and public spaces to protect children. In particular, to seek policymaker opinions on the regulation of smoking in homes, cars and public parks and playgrounds in a country with incomplete smokefree laws (New Zealand). Case study, using structured interviews to ask policymakers (62 politicians and senior officials) about their opinions on new smokefree legislation for public and private places. Supplementary data was obtained from the Factiva media database, on the views of New Zealand local authority councillors about policies for smokefree outdoor public places. Overall, interviewees thought that government regulation of smoking in private places was impractical and unwise. However, there were some differences on what was defined as 'private', particularly for cars. Even in public parks, smoking was seen by some as a 'personal' decision, and unlikely to be amenable to regulation. Most participants believed that educative, supportive and community-based measures were better and more practical means of reducing smoking in private places, compared to regulation. The constrained view of the role of regulation of smoking in public and private domains may be in keeping with current political discourse in New Zealand and similar Anglo-American countries. Policy and advocacy options to promote additional smokefree measures include providing a better voice for childrens' views, increasing information to policymakers about the harms to children from secondhand smoke and the example of adult smoking, and changing the culture for smoking around children.
    BMC Public Health 12/2010; 10(1):797. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-10-797 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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