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Children, Health, Smoking, Tobacco.



  1. Yousey, Yvonne PhD, RN, CPNP


Purpose: To explore families' attitudes about smoking and their perceptions of the effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure on their children.


Study Design and Methods: Qualitative study using face-to-face interviews with a semistructured guide in 20 households containing a child under age 5. Content analysis was done on the interview data.


Results: Families identified "health protection" as the parental responsibility for children and emphasized helping children make decisions not to smoke. Some reported negative experiences with ETS exposure as children themselves or health problems in their children, reinforcing their opposition to smoke exposure for their children. Most parents said they did not allow smoking in their homes, but some later disclosed that they made exceptions for family and friends. Some parents, however, limited their children's contact with smoking members of their families. Smoking parents expressed guilt about ETS exposure of their children and tried to limit smoking to certain areas of their houses, such as the basement. Other parents, mostly the nonsmokers, did not identify ETS as a problem. Families who maintained smoke-free households identified that family and friends had to "respect" their wishes.


Clinical Implications: To protect children from the negative effects of ETS exposure, nurses should discuss not only if parents smoke but also if family members and friends are allowed to smoke in the home. It would be helpful to assess the priority that parents set on ETS and how they attempt to prevent it in their daily lives.