Parental education on passive smoking in infancy does work

01 Sep 2003


Passive smoking is harmful to young children. A protocol has been developed to allow health care workers to communicate with parents about preventing passive smoking. The main message was to refrain from smoking in the presence of the child. The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of this education programme.


The prevalence of smoking in the presence of infants aged 0-10 months was compared before and after the implementation of the education programme. National samples of mothers completed questionnaires in 1996 (n = 1,129) and in 1999 (n = 2,534). Questions were asked about smoking in the living room in the presence of infants, and about parental smoking, and background characteristics.


The prevalence of passive infant smoking decreased from 41% to 18%. The adjusted odds ratio for passive infant smoking in 1999 compared to 1996 was 0.34 (0.26-0.44) when none of the parents smoked, 0.19 (0.14-0.27) when one of the parents smoked, and 0.30 (0.20-0.44) when both parents smoked.


The implementation of this health education programme seems to have been very successful in reducing passive smoking in children. Implementation of similar health education programmes in other countries is recommended.

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Resource information

Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Crone MR, Reijneveld SA, Willemsen MC, Sing RA