Secondhand tobacco smoke is no longer an issue in most public places, but it remains a clear health threat for children whose parents smoke at home. Tobacco-smoke exposure (TSE) is a major cause of preventable disease in children, from sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory diseases to illnesses later in life. It’s more prevalent in low-income households. Across multiple studies, lower income and education have been observed as high barriers to maternal smoking cessation. Children in those homes are more vulnerable to the health effects of TSE.
Temple University College of Public Health researchers have been testing interventions that appear to make a difference. Through two newly published studies, they found that similar approaches involving 12 to 16 weeks of telephone consultations with smoking mothers in low-income homes not only helped them measurably lower their children’s smoke exposure, it led to efforts to reduce or quit their smoking entirely, even if they hadn’t intended to quit when they started treatment.
“Parents are really receptive to trying to protect their kids,” says Dr. Bradley Collins, professor and director of the Health Behavior Research Clinic and principal investigator of the studies, which were funded by the National Cancer Institute. “Our approach seems to work for this high risk, underserved population where you don’t jump right into quitting smoking at the start of treatment. It focuses on child exposure, builds on changes smoking parents make at home, and as they master protecting their child, we encourage effort toward quitting smoking.”
Read more at Temple’s College of Public Health.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on November 15