Children's exposure to second-hand smoke in the home: a household survey in the North of England

Health Soc Care Community. 2010 May;18(3):257-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2009.00890.x. Epub 2009 Dec 29.


Exposure of children to second-hand smoke (SHS) leads to increased risk of health and social problems and uptake of smoking in the future. We aimed to assess the prevalence of children's exposure to SHS in their homes, in a deprived area in the North of England and identify what people thought would help them achieve a smoke-free home (SFH). We performed a cross-sectional survey of 318 households with at least one child aged under 16 years in Beeston Hill, a deprived locality in Leeds, England in June 2008. One hundred and seventy-three households [54%, 95% confidence interval (C.I.) 49-60] had at least one smoker in the house. In 42% (95% C.I. 35-50) of these households (n = 73), smoking took place in the presence of children. The odds of allowing smoking in front of children were 2.2 (95% C.I. 1.1-4.5) times greater in households whose head had less than A-level (national exams at 18 years) or equivalent qualification than in homes with a more qualified head of household. 92% of respondents were aware that SHS has negative effects on children's health. However, 71% felt more information about health risks to children would help reduce exposure to SHS in the home. Smoking in the presence of children takes place in a relatively high proportion of households with smoker(s), despite media awareness campaigns regarding the dangers of passive smoking launched alongside the recently enforced smoke-free public and workplaces legislation. Specific promotion of SFHs is needed to protect the health of children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Poverty
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution