225381 Using computer simulation to reduce secondhand smoke exposure in children of low-Income families

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:45 PM

Neil Klepeis, PhD , Education Training and Research, Inc., Scotts Valley, CA
Pamela Drake, PhD , Research, Education Training and Research, Inc., Scotts Valley, CA
Linda Alexander, EdD , College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Charlotte Baker, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Lexington, KY
There are few social justice issues more relevant to eliminating disparities than children's exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS). Over 50 years of research have highlighted the health hazards of SHS, especially for children in low-income populations. In the present study, we performed a pilot evaluation of an inexpensive SHS intervention utilizing computer simulation of smoking in automobiles. By communicating key health messages through an interactive, objective-driven experience, the intervention motivates caregivers to take steps to reduce children's SHS exposure, especially by instituting a strict smoking ban. The real-time simulation conveys to adults: (1) the very high levels of SHS that occur almost immediately in the vehicle when they light up, and (2) how long the smoke stays in the vehicle even when a window is opened. Other messages, which are delivered by a talking animated character, include the acute health effects caused by SHS and the contamination of the car interior, which can expose a child indirectly. To explore feasibility and initial effectiveness, we recruited low-income caregivers who smoke from two locations: (1) n = 49 WIC recipients in Stockton, California; and (2) n = 30 health care recipients in Lexington, Kentucky. Participants used the simulation at kiosk stations while waiting for their appointment and were given before-and-after questionnaires. Approximately 10% of the participants returned for a 2-week follow-up. We interviewed clinic staff on their perception and satisfaction of the intervention. All participants and staff responded positively, although poor retention prevented full evaluation of lasting effects.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe a simulation-based behavioral intervention for tobacco smoke exposure in cars. 2. Identify key messages for the hazards of secondhand smoke in cars.

Keywords: Tobacco, Children's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a senior researcher and principal investigator on studies of environmental and behavioral health.
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.