State-Specific Prevalence of Smoke-Free Home Rules—United States, 1992–2003
May 25, 2007 / Vol. 56 / No. 20
- The proportion of U.S. households with smoke-free home rules (voluntary household rules not allowing smoking in any part of the home at any time) increased from 43% in 1992–1993 to 72% in 2003. Comparable increases occurred in both households with and without smokers.
- Although the proportion of households with smoke-free home rules varied among the states, this proportion increased significantly in every state over this period. Utah had the highest proportion of smoke-free homes and Kentucky the lowest proportion of smoke-free homes at both the beginning and end of the study period.
- The greatest change in the proportion of households with smoke-free home rules (from 25.7% to 53.4%) occurred in Kentucky, while the smallest change (from 69.6% to 88.8%) occurred in Utah.
- The home is the primary source of secondhand smoke exposure for children and, along with the workplace, a major source of exposure for nonsmoking adults.
- Millions of children and nonsmoking adults remain at risk for secondhand smoke exposure. Continued increases in the number of smoke-free workplaces, smoke-free public places, and smoke-free homes are needed to protect nonsmokers from this widespread and preventable health hazard.
- Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults.
- Only eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure. Other approaches, such as separating smokers from nonsmokers and ventilation, are not effective.
- Making homes completely smoke-free substantially reduces secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmoking residents. The evidence also suggests that smoke-free home rules help smokers quit and reduce smoking initiation among youth.
- Because smoke-free home rules are voluntary, they are important indicators of changes in public awareness of the health effects of secondhand smoke and in public attitudes regarding the social acceptability of smoking.
- Comprehensive tobacco control programs that include effective interventions to decrease smoking initiation, increase smoking cessation, and eliminate nonsmokers’ secondhand smoke exposure need to be implemented fully to accelerate progress in reducing the health burden from tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.
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