CBRC Research Paper Series No. 36
The ‘Smokefree homes and cars' campaign aimed to increase awareness of the harms of secondhand smoke (SHS) amongst both smokers and non-smokers, as well as to encourage the adoption of smokefree policies in the home and in cars. The campaign was aired for four weeks from August to September 2007, and this report examines the effect of the campaign on Victorians' beliefs and behaviours regarding exposure to SHS.
The impact of the campaign was assessed using a pre and post cross-sectional methodology. The pre-campaign sample was obtained through the Cancer Issues Population survey (CIPS), a health survey commissioned by the Cancer Council Victoria (CCV), and the post-campaign sample was obtained through the Smoking and Health survey, an annual telephone survey of Victorian adults, commissioned by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer (CBRC).
Analysis of pre and post samples revealed a significant decrease in the proportion of Victorians who agreed with the statement that the dangers of passive smoking have been exaggerated, from 24% to 20%. There was also a significant increase from 66% to 78% in the proportion reporting that the regular smoker/smokers always smokes outside the home, amongst those who were not regular smokers but who lived in households with one or more regular smokers. Conversely, there was a significant decrease amongst those within smoking households reporting that the regular smoker/smokers never smokes while others are in the car, from 64% to 56%, suggesting that the significant harms of exposure to SHS in cars may not have been sufficiently prominent in the campaign to affect behaviour change in this area.
Overall, the findings suggest that the ‘Smokefree homes and cars' campaign was moderately effective in achieving its aims. There was some evidence of a change in beliefs about the effects of exposure to SHS, as well as a significant increase in protection against SHS exposure within the home reported by those who were not regular smokers.