Exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) is a major public health problem and a risk factor for morbidity and mortality. The objective of this randomized trial was to estimate the impact of a culturally-sensitive intervention to reduce SHS exposure in Mexican-American households.
Method: A total of 91 households (with a child under 18 years of age and two adults, one of whom was a smoker) were recruited from a population-based cohort of Mexican-American households and randomized to receive the experimental intervention (EI; n=47) or standard care (SC; n=44). Of these, 74 households (83%) provided baseline, 6-month, and 12-month survey and nicotine monitor data (EI, n=39; SC, n=35). The EI materials, designed to increase the participants' likelihood of adopting a smoke-free indoor home air policy, included one culturally-appropriate bilingual comic book for children and two fotonovelas for adults.
Results: Ambient nicotine levels significantly decreased over the 12 study months (F=13.6, DF=147; p<0.001); with a significantly greater decrease in the EI households compared to the SC households (F=4.1, DF=72; p<0.05). At 12 months, 73% of EI households had banned smoking vs. 56% of SC households. Ambient nicotine levels, measured using nicotine air sampling monitors, were significantly associated with self-reported SHS exposure at the 12-month follow-up. Knowledge of the health effects of SHS increased from baseline to 6 and 12 months in the EI condition but not in the SC condition (F=6.0, DF=238; p<0.01), and smokers and quitters in the EI group reported an increased perception of health vulnerability compared to those in the SC group.
Conclusion: Our low-cost intervention impacted SHS-related knowledge and exposure among Mexican Americans. This culturally-appropriate intervention has the potential to decrease SHS-related health problems in the target population substantially.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.