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Parental Knowledge of Thirdhand Smoke Dangers Linked to In-home Smoking Bans

12/29/2008

A new study links in-home smoking bans with parental understanding of the negative effects of thirdhand smoke - the residual tobacco contamination that remains after a cigarette is extinguished. In "Beliefs About the Health Effects of Thirdhand Smoke and Home Smoking Bans," researchers conducted phone surveys of more than 1,500 households to assess the level of agreement with the statements that breathing air in a room today where people smoked yesterday could harm the health of children.

Overall, 95.4 percent of nonsmokers versus 84.1 percent of smokers agreed that secondhand smoke harms the health of children, and 65.2 percent of nonsmokers versus 43.3 percent of smokers, that thirdhand smoke harms children. Strict rules prohibiting smoking in the home were more prevalent among nonsmokers - 88.4 percent versus 26.7 percent. Belief that thirdhand smoke harms the health of children was independently associated with rules prohibiting smoking in the home. Health messages about thirdhand smoke contamination should be incorporated into tobacco control campaigns, programs, and routine clinical practice.



The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.