Aims: To assess exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) in New Zealand homes and cars and to describe attitudes and behaviours that relate to establishing smokefree settings.
Methods: In 2004, a nationwide telephone survey randomly selected and interviewed 2731 respondents. This sample was weighted to represent the national population and was comprised of a general adult population sample (n=1507), a sample selected from the Maori electoral roll (n=924), and a sample of current smokers and people who had recently quit smoking (n=300).
Results: 19.6% of the general population and 42.7% of the Maori sample reported current smoking. Of all current smokers, 47.2% smoked indoors at home and 70.8% smoked in their cars. Maori participants were significantly more likely to be exposed to SHS in their homes than non-Maori participants. There was also some evidence for lower socioeconomic status being related to higher SHS exposure. Extrapolating from the adult exposure data in households with children, it was estimated that 18.9% of children were potentially exposed to SHS indoors at home. However, most respondents (73.6%) lived in homes with total smoking bans.
Conclusions: SHS exposure remains a significant problem especially for Maori and low-income New Zealanders. There is a need for further public health campaigns to increase the prevalence of smokefree homes and cars.