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Smoking in the Home - Child Exposure

Originally Published 01 August 2003

New research from the School of Health and Social Studies shows that stopping smoking in the home significantly reduces infant exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH):

“Breathing other people's smoke is called passive, involuntary or second-hand smoking. The non-smoker breathes "sidestream" smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette and "mainstream" smoke that has been inhaled and then exhaled by the smoker. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a major source of indoor air pollution.”

For more information see the ASH fact sheet Passive Smoking: The Impact on Children - http://www.ash.org.uk/html/passive/html/kidsbrief.html

The School of Health and Social Studies research, Effect of strategies to reduce exposure of infants to environmental tobacco smoke in the home: cross sectional survey is published in this week’s British Medical Journal, the flagship journal of the British Medical Association.

The study found that over 80% of parents believed that environmental tobacco smoke is harmful and 90% believed that infants can be protected from it in the home. Only one in 10 parents was unaware of any measures to reduce exposure. More than half the parents reported using more than one measure. Just under a fifth reported banning smoking in the home.

The results suggested banning smoking at home significantly reduces infant exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. However less strict measures, such as opening windows when smoking and using fans, are likely to have little effect on the exposure of infants. The authors stress that there is scope for further study on the effects of less strict measures.

British Medical Journal

Effect of strategies to reduce exposure of infants to environmental tobacco smoke in the home: cross sectional survey

School of Health and Social Studies