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    Smoke-free rules can help shield kids from COPD

    In about 40% of U.S. homes with parents who smoke, those parents don’t have smoke-free rules in place for their children, according to a study published June 18 in Preventing Chronic Disease.

    “It has been suggested that physicians can play an important role in encouraging families to adopt voluntary smoke-free home rules. Therefore, our study calls for physicians to counsel parents not to smoke in homes, private cars, and outdoor play areas, and to consider quitting smoking,” says lead study author Xiao Zhang, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Zhang and colleagues used data from the 2010-2011 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey and logistic regressions to model behavior and attitudes related to voluntary smoke-free rules in three settings: Homes, cars, and outdoor children’s play areas.

    During the period 2010-2011, 60% of U.S. households with underage children and at least one smoking parent had voluntarily adopted smoke-free home rules. Approximately 84.6% and 71.5% of parents thought that smoking should not be allowed inside cars with children present and in outdoor play areas, respectively. Households with two parents, parents of higher education and household income, Hispanic parents, and parents of infants, were more likely to have positive parental behavior and attitudes related to voluntary smoke-free rules.

    Related: Using chronic care methods to treat smoking cessation COPD

    “There is still room for improvement and more tobacco control and prevention efforts are needed to promote the adoption of voluntary smoke-free rules in these three settings among households with both smoking parents and underage children,” Zhang tells Medical Economics.

    “Second-hand smoke exposure during childhood doubles one's risk of developing COPD later in life,” Zhang adds. “Because the home, car, and children’s outdoor play areas are three primary sources of secondhand smoke exposure for children, having smoke-free rules in these places can help prevent and reduce the long-term burden of COPD.”

    It has been suggested that physicians can play an important role in encouraging families to adopt voluntary smoke-free home rules, according to Zhang.

    “Therefore, our study calls for physicians to counsel parents not to smoke in homes, private cars, and outdoor play areas, and to consider quitting smoking,” Zhang says.

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