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BMJ Open. 2013 Nov 13;3(11):e003059. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003059.

Children's exposure to second-hand smoke at home in Bangladesh: a community survey.

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  • 1Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.



In Bangladesh, second-hand smoke (SHS) is recognised as a principal source of indoor air pollution and a major public health problem. However, we know little about the extent to which people are aware of the risks of second-hand smoking, or restrict smoking indoors or in the presence of children. We report findings of a community survey exploring these questions.


A total of 722 households were surveyed in urban and rural settings, using a multistage cluster random sampling approach and a semistructured questionnaire. In addition, we used qualitative methods to further explore the determinants of smoking-related behaviours inside homes.


55% of households in our sample had at least one regular smoker. Smoking indoors was common. In 30% of households, smoking occurred in the presence of children, exposing nearly 40% of children to SHS. Overall, we found a lack of awareness about the harms associated with second-hand smoking.


Our study highlights that a sizeable proportion of children and non-smokers are exposed to SHS at homes in Bangladesh, posing a significant and grave public health problem. In the absence of any impetus to legislate against smoking in private places, an educational approach is recommended to change smoking practices at home. Such a shift toward voluntary smoking restrictions at home would require behaviour change among smokers and support from non-smoking family members.


Epidemiology; Public Health; Qualitative Research

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