Tobacco smoke exposure in pediatric cystic fibrosis: A qualitative study of clinician and caregiver perspectives on smoking cessation

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2020 Sep;55(9):2330-2340. doi: 10.1002/ppul.24879. Epub 2020 Jun 8.


Objective: Tobacco smoke exposure has negative impacts on the lung health of children with cystic fibrosis (CF), yet evidence-based strategies for smoking cessation have not been tested with or tailored to CF caregivers. This qualitative study identified barriers and facilitators of smoking cessation in this population and outlined potential interventional approaches.

Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with CF familial caregivers who were current or former smokers, and with members of the CF care team. We asked about experiences, practices, and prerequisites for a successful program. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded by two investigators. Analysis used a thematic approach guided by the PRECEDE model, which identifies predisposing (intrapersonal), reinforcing (interpersonal), and enabling (structural) factors relevant to health behaviors and programs.

Results: Seventeen interviews were conducted-eight with familial caregivers and nine with CF team members. Whereas caregivers provided greater insight into internal difficulties and motivators to quit smoking, clinicians offered more extensive input on barriers and solutions related to the clinical environment. Based on study recommendations, a successful tobacco cessation program should include (a) family education about the harms of smoke exposure for children with CF; (b) screening for exposure, ideally with biochemical verification; (c) access to trained tobacco counselors; (d) affordable pharmacotherapy; and (e) outpatient follow-up of those undergoing tobacco treatment.

Conclusion: This qualitative study revealed intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural barriers to eliminating tobacco smoke exposure in children with CF, outlined opportunities to address these barriers, and made recommendations for a comprehensive tobacco cessation strategy.

Keywords: cystic fibrosis; qualitative methods; second-hand smoke; smoke exposure; smoking cessation; tobacco.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution*
  • Tobacco Smoking / psychology*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution