The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Michael E. Anders1, Claudia Barone2, Christine E. Sheffer3, Talmage Holmes4, Donald Simpson1, Angela Duncan2

Background: The U.S. Surgeon General has determined that any level of exposure to toxins in secondhand smoke is unsafe. Children are often unwitting victims of these harmful effects, which are manifested by increased health risks, including asthma and sudden infant death syndrome. The purpose of this study was to examine home smoking policies in a low income, minority population.

Methods: All Emergency Department patients who presented for non-urgent care at a tertiary care hospital were assessed for tobacco use. Consented adults who were daily smokers completed a structured interview and questionnaire with closed-ended questions, which elicited demographics, stage of readiness to quit, motivation to quit, self-efficacy to quit, the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence, the Perceived Stress Scale, and smoking policies at home. At an alpha = .01, logistic regression tested the correlates of a smoke-free home.

Results: Smoking prevalence of the patient population was 57.3%. Among study participants (n = 222), 77% lacked healthcare insurance, 56.9% had annual household incomes < $15,000, and 50.5% were African-American. Greater than 55% reported smoking within their homes. Having a partner (p = .79) or children (p = .16) residing in the home did not influence the home smoking policy. Increasing age (p = .003; OR = 1.5; 95% CI = 1.1, 1.9) and increasing Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (p = .001; OR = 1.2; 95% CI = 1.1, 1.4) were associated with smoking in the home.

Conclusion: In this predominately low income, minority sample, the proportion (45%) who reported a smoke-free home policy was alarmingly low. By comparison, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrated that the proportion of smoke-free homes in Arkansas (71%) and the U.S. (74%) was considerably higher. Correlates of smoking in the home were increased age and Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence. Future interventions should target low income, minority patients to increase the uptake of a smoke-free home policy.