Background: To extend previous observations that secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) is associated with nicotine markers in children, we investigated if SHS exposure is associated with self-reports of nicotine dependence (ND) symptoms among young never-smokers.
Method: Data on number of persons who smoke inside the home, number of days exposed to SHS in a motor vehicle in the past week, number of parents, siblings, and friends who smoke, and ND symptoms, were collected from 10-12 year-old students in self-report questionnaires. The association between SHS and ND symptoms among young never-smokers was assessed in logistic regression models.
Results: Sixty-nine of 1488 never-smokers (5%) reported one or more ND symptom. After controlling for sibling and peer smoking, and susceptibility to initiating smoking, exposure to SHS in a motor vehicle was independently associated with ND symptoms (OR, 95% CI=1.2, 1.0-1.4). The OR for number of persons who smoke inside the home was 1.1 (0.9-1.4).
Conclusion: SHS exposure in motor vehicles may be associated with ND symptoms among young never-smokers. If replicated, this finding provides support for interventions that promote non-smoking in motor vehicles.