Environmental tobacco smoke exposure of young children - Attitudes and health-risk awareness in the Nordic countries

Ásgeir R. Helgason*, Karl Erik Lund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To assess attitudes towards environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and health-risk awareness regarding the potential hazards of ETS for children among parents of young children in the Nordic countries. Also to investigate to what extent these factors are related to ETS exposure of the children. Design: A cross-sectional community-based survey using an anonymous mailed questionnaire. Participants: Parents of children aged 3 years at the time of selection from a random sample of 5500 households in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland). Main outcome measures: Smoking status of parents, weekly ETS exposure of children within and outside the home, health-risk awareness and attitudes regarding the potential hazards of passive smoking. Findings: Two in three parents who smoked did not recognize the increased risk for an inner ear infection and approximately 50% were not aware of the role of parental smoking in recruiting smokers. One in two smokers tended to agree or agreed that an act should be passed which forbids all indoor smoking in the vicinity of children. After adjustment for covariates, the level of health-risk awareness about ETS was significantly related to no ETS exposure within and outside the home. Conclusion: The main findings indicate that educating parents about the established health risks of ETS for their children may significantly reduce children's exposure to ETS. An increased effort is needed to educate parents who smoke on the potential health risks of ETS for their children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-345
Number of pages5
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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