Children’s Exposure to Secondhand Smoke, Parental Nicotine Dependence, and Motivation to Quit Smoking
Jo Ann Kleier, Mary Mites-Campbell, and Kelly Henson-Evertz
More than 600,000 people die each year as a result of exposure to secondhand
smoke (SHS); 28% of those deaths are children. Most exposure for children occurs
in the home and is due to a parent smoking. Parental awareness and understanding
of the exposure to SHS and the risk that parental smoking brings to the child
may be an effective impetus for smoke avoidance and parental tobacco cessation.
This descriptive, correlational study used data provided by a convenience sample
of 184 smoking parental-figures, representing 376 children, recruited in community
settings. Seven research questions were posed regarding the exposure of children
to parental figures who smoke, the degree of the parents’ dependence on nicotine,
and their level of motivation to stop smoking. Comparisons were made between
income levels and ethnic/racial groups. Children’s exposure to SHS was low; Asian
children had the highest likelihood of exposure. The areas of most frequent exposure
were multiunit residential communities and in a vehicle. Parents’ dependence
on nicotine was moderately high, and parental motivation to quit smoking was high.
However, parents who were the most dependent on nicotine were the least motivated
to quit. Nurses working with both adult and pediatric populations should
address the opportunities for exposure to SHS for their patient population.
Community health nurses should specifically target workplaces, businesses, and
communities with high numbers of Asian residents for public health education related
to childhood exposure to SHS.