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Acta Paediatr Suppl. 2000 Sep;89(434):65-70.

How to prevent exposure to tobacco smoke among small children: a literature review.

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Child and Adolescent Public Health Unit, Community Medicine, Huddinge, Sweden.


There are many reviews of current knowledge about smoking cessation in general within the health service, which also contain guidelines about smoking cessation during pregnancy. Our aim was to review methods in child healthcare for preventing the exposure of children to tobacco smoke. Since passive smoking starts during pregnancy, we also considered methods in antenatal care. We did a search for relevant articles, especially on randomized, controlled trials, in various databases, chiefly Medline. We mainly analysed studies from the last 10 y, concentrating on the actual interventions. In antenatal care the greatest effect comes from interventions based on behavioural strategies. These can lead to a doubling of the number of women who stop smoking during pregnancy. Purely factual information, on the other hand, has no great effect. The studies in child healthcare analysed here show that decisive factors for children not being exposed to passive smoking are a concentration on strengthening the parents' faith in their ability to create a smoke-free environment, and on behavioural strategies to achieve this goal, but not primarily on getting the parents to stop smoking. However, we need further studies of different types of interventions, geared to smokers with small children, before more specific recommendations can be given as to how child healthcare should design its tobacco-preventive work.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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