206885 Policy Efforts to Reduce Minors' Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jennifer Ibrahim, PhD, MPH , Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Christen Rexing, MPH , Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Background: Policies to restrict smoking in public venues can reduce children's SHS exposure; however, the majority of SHS exposure occurs in private settings such as the home, where a child can not necessarily leave. The purpose of this study is to review current and proposed state laws across the nation to prevent youth SHS exposure as well as recent and pending litigation regarding youth SHS exposure.

Methods: We searched the legislative websites for each state and tobacco advocacy sites to determine the currently enacted legislation to prevent youth exposure to SHS. We also searched legal databases and media coverage to determine pending litigation regarding youth exposure to SHS.

Results: Children are protected under public law from SHS exposure in public places, government buildings, private workplaces, schools, childcare centers, healthcare facilities, and restaurants in most, but not all states. In the private setting, there are 5 cities that have smoke-free home policies in public housing and 7 states/provinces with smoke-free car policies; however there is minimal punitive action for violation. Several states are reviewing policies to prevent children from being placed in foster homes where smoking is permitted indoors. In addition to public policy, the courts are beginning to consider or require smoke-free environments in custody and visitation disputes.

Conclusion: Smoke-free policies can help to reduce the morbidity associated with youth exposure to SHS. Education and examples of effective policies should be used to encourage the voluntary adoption of smoke-free policies in private venues even where state policies do not exist.

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives 1. Review the current legislation regarding youth exposure to secondhand smoke. 2. Discuss recent litigation regarding children’s exposure to secondhand smoke. 3. Evaluate the potential consequences of policies to regulate secondhand smoke in private settings.

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor of Public Health Policy and I have spent the last 8 years conducting research on tobacco control policymaking and population level interventions. I was a member of the IARC panel that composed the upcoming handbook on secondhand smoke and a member of the NCI team that composed the recent monograph on tobacco control media campaigns. I also have published my work in well-respected journals, including the American Journal of Public Health, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and Tobacco Control.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.