Updated 12 Dec 2005

THE TREND TO SMOKEFREE HOMES

As Figure 1 shows, smoking in adolescents is decreasing, perceived smoking among parents has increased, while more homes with parents smoking do not permit smoking inside the home.

Between 2001 and 2004, the difference between the two top lines of Figure 1 doubled, from 5.2 percentage points to 10.4 percentage points, indicating a trend to smokefree homes. The bad news is that according to adolescents at year 10, smoking prevalence among their parents has increased two percentage points between Year 10 students in 2001 and 2004.

Figure 1. Smoking by parents, adolescents; and whether smoking permitted in the home

28% of smokers’ homes smokefree

 
Smoking by parents, adolescents, and whether smoking is allowed in the home

Source: based on data from ASH Year 10 surveys at www.ash.org.nz Students were asked if they smoked monthly or more often, and whether one, both or neither parent smoked. Estimations are based on two parents per student.

 

The proportion of homes with at least one parent smoked, but where smoking did not occur inside the home, almost doubled, from 14.6% to 27.7% [(37.5-27.1)/37.5=27.7] This suggests good compliance with the sentiment of a recent television commercial ‘Take the smoke outside.’

(The above estimations assume that homes with neither parent smoking do not permit smoking inside the home. This is almost but not always true.)

Current government policy

1 Legislation for smokefree workplaces has established smokefree environments as the norm.

2 Government has a policy of promoting smokefree homes but not by legislation.

2 Government through the Quit Campaign and Health Sponsorship Council has funded a media campaign to promote smokefree homes in the last few years.

3 Government through Health Research Council has funded Changing parents smoking behaviour to reduce uptake of smoking among children, in South Auckland, a research project that will look into smokefree homes and other ways parents influence children’s smoking.

Why this policy should be strengthened with further funding as a top priority

Research evidence on the importance of this policy for preventing adolescent smoking

Laugesen M. Smokefree homes are the key to reducing adolescent smoking, and reducing parental smoking. 2004. Part of a presentation to Smokefree Auckland group, 14 July 2004.

Smokefree_homes04.ppt smokefreehomes.pdf

Research evidence on the importance of this policy for reducing adults’ exposure to smoke in the home

Wellington researchers (Hill, Blakely et al BMJ 2004) working from the 1996 Census question on smoking and subsequent death records, have shown that living with a smoker in the late 1990s in New Zealand, before smokers were asked to take the smoke outside, increased the risk of early death for never smokers in the same household over the next three years by over 20%. RRoftobaccos.htm

 

Copyright Health New Zealand 2005. All rights reserved.