Skip to main content

Frequency and risk factors related to smoking in cars with children present

Abstract

Objectives: Second-hand smoke (SHS) can attain high concentrations in cars. To protect children’s health, nine Canadian provinces have enacted legislation prohibiting smoking in privately owned vehicles when children are present; Quebec is the only province with no such legislation. The objective of this study was to estimate the proportion of smokers in Quebec who smoke while travelling in a private vehicle in which children are present, and to compare the characteristics of smokers who do and do not smoke in cars.

METHODS: In 2011–12, 754 daily smokers who recently travelled in a car with children completed a telephone survey in which they reported how frequently they smoked in a car, if there were smoking restrictions, and perceptions about the effectiveness of legislation prohibiting smoking in cars when children are present.

RESULTS: Twenty-three percent of daily smokers smoked at least occasionally in their car when children were present. This proportion was higher among smokers who knew that there was no legislation in Quebec prohibiting smoking in cars, compared to smokers who believed that such legislation was already in effect (32% vs. 12%). Smokers with a university degree and those who reported that smoking was prohibited at home were less likely to expose children to SHS in cars. Most daily smokers (75%) believed that legislation would be effective.

DISCUSSION: The results of this study suggest that legislation prohibiting smoking in cars is necessary to protect children from SHS, that such legislation would be effective, and that it may be relatively easy to implement.

Résumé

OBJECTIF: La concentration de fumée de tabac peut atteindre des niveaux élevés dans une voiture. Afin de protéger la santé des enfants, neuf provinces canadiennes ont adopté une mesure législative interdisant de fumer dans les véhicules privés lorsque des enfants y prennent place. Le Québec est la seule province canadienne à ne pas avoir légiféré en ce sens. L’objectif de cette étude était d’estimer la proportion de fumeurs qui fument en voiture en présence d’enfants au Québec, et de comparer les caractéristiques des fumeurs qui fument à ceux qui ne fument pas en voiture.

MÉthode: En 2011–2012, 754 fumeurs quotidiens ayant voyagé récemment en voiture en présence d’enfants ont participé à une entrevue téléphonique. Les participants ont été interrogés sur la fréquence à laquelle ils fumaient dans la voiture, sur la présence de restrictions à l’usage de tabac dans la voiture, et sur leur perception de l’efficacité d’une loi qui interdirait de fumer dans une voiture en présence d’enfants.

RÉSULTATS: Vingt-trois pour cent des fumeurs quotidiens fumaient régulièrement ou à l’occasion en voiture en présence d’enfants. Cette proportion était plus élevée parmi les fumeurs qui savaient qu’aucune loi québécoise n’interdisait de fumer en voiture, comparativement aux fumeurs qui croyaient à tort qu’une telle loi était en vigueur (32 % c. 12 %). Les fumeurs diplômés universitaires et ceux qui rapportaient qu’il était interdit de fumer à l’intérieur de leur domicile étaient moins susceptibles d’exposer des enfants à la fumée de tabac en voiture. La majorité des fumeurs quotidiens interrogés (75 %) croyaient qu’une telle loi serait efficace pour réduire l’exposition des jeunes à la fumée de tabac.

DISCUSSION: Les résultats de cette étude indiquent qu’une loi interdisant de fumer dans les voitures est nécessaire pour protéger la santé des enfants, qu’une telle loi serait efficace et que son implantation au Québec se ferait sans opposition.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Orbell S, Lidierth P, Henderson CJ, Geeraert N, Uller C, Uskul AK, et al. Socialcognitive beliefs, alcohol, and tobacco use: A prospective community study of change following a ban on smoking in public places. Health Psychol 2009;28(6):753–61. PMID: 19916644. doi: 10.1037/a0016943.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Zhang X, Martinez-Donate AP, Kuo D, Jones NR, Palmersheim KA. Trends in home smoking bans in the U.S.A., 1995-2007: Prevalence, discrepancies and disparities. Tob Control 2012;21(3):330–36. PMID: 21813487. doi: 10.1136/tc.2011.043802.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Statistics Canada. Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) 2013. Public Use Microdata Files. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada, 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Statistics Canada. Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) 2011–2012. Public Use Microdata Files. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Lasnier B, Leclerc BS, Hamel D. Les inégalités sociales de santé en matière de tabagisme et d’exposition à la fumée de tabac dans l’environnement au Québec. Montréal, QC: Institut national de santé publique du Québec, 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Northcross AL, Trinh M, Kim J, Jones IA, Meyers MJ, Dempsey DD, et al. Particulate mass and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exposure from secondhand smoke in the back seat of a vehicle. Tob Control 2014;23(1):14–20. PMID: 23172398. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050531.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ott W, Klepeis N, Switzer P. Air change rates of motor vehicles and in-vehicle pollutant concentrations from secondhand smoke. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 2008;18(3):312–25. PMID: 17637707. doi: 10.1038/sj.jes.7500601.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Rees VW, Connolly GN. Measuring air quality to protect children from secondhand smoke in cars. Am J Prev Med 2006;31(5):363–68. PMID: 17046406. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2006.07.021.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. World Health Organization. Air Quality Guidelines, Global Update 2005, Particulate Matter, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide. Copenhagen: WHO Regional office for Europe, 2006.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Semple S, Apsley A, Galea KS, Maccalman L, Friel B, Snelgrove V. Secondhand smoke in cars: Assessing children’s potential exposure during typical journey conditions. Tob Control 2012;21(6):578–83. PMID: 22218425. doi: 10.1136/tobac-cocontrol-2011-050197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Sendzik T, Fong GT, Travers MJ, Hyland A. An experimental investigation of tobacco smoke pollution in cars. Nicotine Tob Res 2009;11(6):627–34. PMID: 19351785. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntp019.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Apelberg BJ, Hepp LM, vila-Tang E, Gundel L, Hammond SK, Hovell MF, et al. Environmental monitoring of secondhand smoke exposure. Tob Control 2013;22(3):147–55. PMID: 22949497. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050301.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Kabir Z, Manning PJ, Holohan J, Keogan S, Goodman PG, Clancy L. Secondhand smoke exposure in cars and respiratory health effects in children. Eur Respir J 2009;34(3):629–33. PMID: 19357146. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00167608.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Institut de la statistique du Québec. Enquête québécoise sur la santé des jeunes du secondaire (EQSJS) 2010–2011. Fichier maître. Montréal, QC: Institut de la statistique du Québec, 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Halterman JS, Conn KM, Hernandez T, Tanski SE. Parent knowledge, attitudes, and household practices regarding SHS exposure: A case-control study of urban children with and without asthma. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2010;49(8):782–89. PMID: 20522612. doi: 10.1177/0009922810368290.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Non-smokers’ Rights Association. Second-hand Smoke in Cars. Non-smokers’ Rights Association, 2014. Available at: http://www.nsra-adnf.ca/cms/page1497.cfm (Accessed March 23, 2015).

    Google Scholar 

  17. Pampalon R, Hamel D, Gamache P, Philibert MD, Raymond G, Simpson A. An area-based material and social deprivation index for public health in Quebec and Canada. Can J Public Health 2012;103(8 Suppl. 2):S17–22. PMID: 23618066.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Binson D, Canchola JA, Catania JA. Random selection in a national telephone survey: A comparison of the Kish, next-birthday, and last-birthday methods. J OffStat 2000;16(1):53–59.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Lasnier, B. L’exposition à la fumée de tabac dans les véhicules privés chez les élèves québécois: 2012-2013. Montréal: Institut national de santé publique du Québec, 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Newfoundland and Labrador. Smoke-free Environment Act, 2005, 2011. (Bill/Resolution)

    Google Scholar 

  21. Ontario. Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2008. (Bill/Resolution)

    Google Scholar 

  22. Prince Edward Island. Smoke-free Places Act, 2009.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Dinh-Zarr TB, Sleet DA, Shults RA, Zaza S, Elder RW, Nichols JL, et al. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to increase the use of safety belts. Am J Prev Med 2001;21(Suppl. 4):48–65. PMID: 11691561.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Kairouz S, Montreuil A, Lasnier B. Habitudes tabagiques des fumeurs québécois après l’interdiction de fumer visant certains lieux publics. Montréal: Institut national de santé publique du Québec, 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Thomson G, Hudson S, Wilson N, Edwards R. A qualitative case study of policy maker views about the protection of children from smoking in cars. Nicotine Tob Res 2010;12(9):970–77. PMID: 20696742. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntql24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Pawson R, Owen L, Wong G. Legislating for health: Locating the evidence. J Public Health Policy 2010;31(2):164–77. PMID: 20535099. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2010.5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health Inquiry into Smoking in Private Vehicles, 2011. Available at: http://www.ash.org.uk/APPGnov2011 (Accessed March 23, 2015).

  28. Nguyen HV. Do smoke-free car laws work? Evidence from a quasiexperiment. J Health Econ 2013;32(1):138–48. PMID: 23202259. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2012.10.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Annie Montreuil PhD.

Additional information

Sources of support: This project was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec through a financial contribution from the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services. J. McGrath holds a CIHR New Investigator Award and Operating Grant (MOP97879). J. O’Loughlin holds a Canada Research Chair in the Early Determinants of Adult Chronic Disease. Acknowledgements: The authors thank Erika Dugas for assistance with preparation of the manuscript and Yan Kestens for his contribution to the research protocol submitted for funding. Conflict of Interest: None to declare.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Montreuil, A., Tremblay, M., Cantinotti, M. et al. Frequency and risk factors related to smoking in cars with children present. Can J Public Health 106, e369–e374 (2015). https://doi.org/10.17269/CJPH.106.5070

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.17269/CJPH.106.5070

Key Words

  • Canada
  • child
  • smoke-free policy
  • tobacco smoke pollution

Mots Clés

  • Canada
  • enfant
  • interdiction de fumer
  • fumée de tabac