Passive smoke exposure among children is widespread in the United States; estimates suggest that almost 40% of children who are younger than 5 years live with a smoker. Few randomized studies of passive smoke exposure reduction among children have been conducted, and the impact of interventions that have been evaluated has been limited. The objective of this study was to determine whether a motivational intervention for smoking parents of young children will lead to reduced household passive smoke exposure.
Project KISS (Keeping Infants Safe From Smoke), a theory-driven exposure reduction intervention targeting low-income families with young children, was a randomized controlled study in which participants—smoking parents/caregivers (N = 291) who had children who were younger than 3 years and who were recruited through primary care settings—were randomly assigned to either the motivational intervention (MI) or a self-help (SH) comparison condition was used. Follow-up assessments were conducted at 3 and 6 months. The MI condition consisted of a 30- to 45-minute motivational interviewing session at the participant's home with a trained health educator and 4 follow-up telephone counseling calls. Feedback from baseline household air nicotine assessments and assessment of the participant's carbon monoxide level was provided as part of the intervention. Participants in the SH group received a copy of the smoking cessation manual, the passive smoke reduction tip sheet, and the resource guide in the mail. Household nicotine levels were measured by a passive diffusion monitor.
The 6-month nicotine levels were significantly lower in MI households. Repeated measures analysis of variance across baseline, 3-month, and 6-month time points showed a significant time-by-treatment interaction, whereby nicotine levels for the MI group decreased significantly and nicotine levels for the SH group increased but were not significantly different from baseline.
This study targeted a large sample of racially and ethnically diverse low-income families, in whom both exposure and disease burden is likely to be significant. This is the first study to our knowledge that has been effective in reducing objective measures of passive smoke exposure in households with healthy children. These findings have important implications for pediatric health care providers, who play an important role in working with parents to protect children's health. Providers can help parents work toward reducing household passive smoke exposure using motivational strategies and providing a menu of approaches regardless of whether the parents are ready to quit.