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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2002 Feb;18(1):4-7.

Smoking in parents of children with asthma and bronchiolitis in a pediatric emergency department.

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Division of Emergency Medicine, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039, USA.



To determine smoking habits, levels of nicotine-addiction, readiness to quit, and beliefs about the effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) of parents of children with bronchiolitis and asthma who present to a children's emergency department (ED).


This was a cross-sectional prevalence study of parents or legal guardians of children with asthma or bronchiolitis presenting to a pediatric ED.


Two hundred forty-nine parents/legal guardians comprised the study group. The mean age (+/-SD) was 30.0 (+/-8.9) years; 88% were female; 51% were nonwhite; 37% were educated beyond high school. The self-reported smoking prevalence was 41% (95% CI = 32-51). Smoking prevalence among parents of wheezing children varied according to education, income, and race, but not according to gender, age, or employment status. Of the 102 smokers in the sample, 84 (82.4%, 95% CI = 73-88) reported that they wanted to quit; 78 (76.5%, 95% CI = 68-84) stated that they wanted to quit within the next month. Forty-nine percent (95% CI = 39-59) scored above 4 on the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence and were considered nicotine-dependent. The majority of smokers admitted to smoking around their children (66.7%, 95% CI = 57-75). Many parents knew that ETS might contribute to the development of the following illnesses: colds/upper respiratory tract infections - 77.5%, otitis media - 68.6%, pneumonia - 50%, wheezing/asthma attacks - 86.3%, and SIDS - 31.4%.


The prevalence of smoking and nicotine addiction among parents of children with asthma or bronchiolitis who bring their children to a pediatric ED is high. Many parents have some knowledge about the effects of ETS, and the majority would like to quit. Future studies to help determine the best way to deliver advice to parents on ETS exposure reduction and smoking cessation are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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