Smoking behaviour in homes and around children in Victoria

By Jacenta Abbott, Molly McCarthy

CBRC Research Paper Series No. 40  

Abstract 

In 2008, the overwhelming majority of Victorians (96%) believe that smokefree cars and homes are important to protect the family from the dangers of secondhand smoke (SHS). Correspondingly, 81% of all respondents discourage visitors from smoking inside the home, 73% of respondents from smoking households reported that the regular smoker always or usually smoke outside, and 56% of current smokers do not smoke at all around children. Moreover, the rates of these latter two behaviours have increased significantly since 1998, when only 53% of respondents from smoking households reported that the regular smoker always or usually smoke outside, and 45% of current smokers reported that they do not smoke at all around children.

Respondents who live with a child were more likely to discourage visitors from smoking in their home (85%), compared to those who don't live with a child (78%), and a higher proportion of respondents from smoking households who live with a child reported that the regular smoker always or usually smoke outside (82%), compared to those who do not live with a child (66%). Conversely, current smokers who live with a child reported were less likely to not smoke at all around children (45%), compared to smokers who do not live with a child (64%).

In addition, the age of the child appeared to influence smoking behaviour in the home, with respondents from smoking households with children under the age of five significantly more likely to report that the regular smoker always or usually smokes outside (91%), compared to those with a child five years and over (77%).

The results from the present study show that smokers' smoking behaviour in homes and around children has significantly improved in the last 11 years. However, 28% of smokers still smoke inside, and 44% still smoke around children, suggesting that continued tobacco control initiatives addressing the issue of SHS exposure are warranted, to ensure that the positive trends in reduced exposure to smoking behaviour over the past 11 years persist.

Updated: 14 Jan, 2013