I can't stand it...but i do it sometimes parental smoking around children: Practices, beliefs, and conflicts - A qualitative study

Vicki Myers, Eimi Lev, Nurit Guttman, Efrat Tillinger, Laura Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Many parents continue to smoke around their children despite the widely known risks of children's exposure to tobacco smoke. We sought to learn about parental smoking behavior around children from parents' perspective. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 65 smoking parents or partners of smoking parents of children up to age 7, to learn about home smoking rules, behaviours performed to try to protect children, and smoking-related conflicts, from parents' perspective. Interviews were recorded and transcribed and thematic analysis performed. Recruitment was challenging due to the sensitive nature of the topic. Results: Many parents described smoking around their children in certain areas of the home, outdoors, and in what they consider to be open or ventilated areas. Participants emphasized efforts to protect their children and described various mitigating practices but held mixed views as to their effectiveness. Parents had different conceptions of which areas or distances were considered 'safe'. Many smoking parents described conflicts both internal and with other family members regarding the protection of children. Some parents who continue to smoke around their children despite understanding the health risks felt powerless to effect change, as well as being uncertain as to the effectiveness of their protective strategies; others were aware but reluctant to change. Conclusion: Findings shed light on some of the difficulties faced by smoking parents and obstacles to maintaining a smoke-free environment for their children, providing insight for the type of information and support required to help parents better protect their children from exposure to tobacco smoke. Awareness of health risks associated with secondhand smoke was demonstrated, yet parents in smoking families were confused regarding which rules and behaviours best protect children from exposure to tobacco smoke. Parents were sometimes aware that their smoking 'rules' and mitigating practices were limited in their effectiveness. Guidelines should be provided explaining how and when exposure occurs and how to keep children safe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number693
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 14 May 2020

Keywords

  • Children
  • Parental behavior
  • Qualitative
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Tobacco smoke exposure

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