Background: This study characterized Oregon households according to type and degree of restrictions on smoking and explored whether smoking restrictions are associated with decreased environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure.
Methods: A population-based, random-digit-dialed cross-sectional telephone survey of 6,199 adult Oregonians was performed in 1997 to provide baseline data on tobacco use in Oregon.
Results: Seventy percent of Oregon households were composed of nonsmokers only, and 85% of those had a full ban on smoking inside the home. Of the households containing one or more smokers, 38% had a full household ban on smoking. Among respondents with a full ban in place, 99% of nonsmoker-only households reported that no one smoked in the home in the previous month, compared with 91% of households with at least one smoker. In both nonsmoker-only households and those with at least one smoker, full bans were strongly associated with awareness of the harm of ETS (OR = 12.8, 95% CI 7.3-22.3, and OR = 6.6, 95% CI 3.6-12.3, respectively). The presence of children in the household was also closely associated with full bans in the two types of households (OR = 4.6, 95% CI 2.8-7.6, and OR = 3.0, 95% CI 2.1-4.4, respectively). Nevertheless, 50% of households with children and a smoker present did not have a full ban in place.
Conclusions: While the prevalence of household smoking restrictions is high in Oregon, there remains room for improvement, since 50% of households with a smoker and a child present do not have a full ban on indoor smoking. Public health messages that focus on household smoking restrictions may help protect nonsmokers from exposure to ETS.