Purpose: The present study examines second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure and the beliefs youth have about being exposed to SHS in their home and in cars and explores changes in exposure and beliefs over time.
Methods: Nationally representative data from the 2006 Youth Smoking Survey (YSS) were used to examine youth exposure to smoking and beliefs about smoking in the home and car among 71,003 Canadian youth in grades 5-12. Gender-specific logistic regression models were conducted to examine if being exposed to smoking at home or in the car were associated with the beliefs youth have about either smoking around kids at home or smoking around kids in cars.
Results: In 2006, 22.1% of youth in grades 5-12 were exposed to smoking in their home on a daily or almost daily basis and 28.1% were exposed to smoking while riding in a car at least once in the previous week. The majority of youth reported that they do not think smoking should be allowed around kids at home (88.3%) or in cars (88.4%). Youth exposed to smoking in the home or in cars reported missing substantially more days of school in the previous month because of their health. Among both male and female youth, being an ever smoker, living in a house where someone smokes inside daily, and having ridden in a car with someone who was smoking cigarettes in the past seven days were all associated with being more likely to report that smoking should not be allowed around kids at home or in cars. Compared to their male counterparts, female youth with at least one parent who smokes were more likely to report that smoking should not be allowed around kids at home or in cars. As rates of SHS exposure in the home and car decreased between 2004 and 2006, the prevalence of youth who reported that they do not think smoking should be allowed around kids at home or in cars also decreased over the same period of time.
Conclusions: These results highlight that Canadian youth are frequently exposed to SHS in their homes and in cars despite the fact that the vast majority of youth do not think smoking should be allowed around kids in those locations. Considering the health and social consequences associated with SHS exposure, it may be a timely opportunity to move forward with programs and policies designed to prevent individuals from smoking around youth in these locations.