Objective: To identify and evaluate the options for population level government policies to increase the prevalence of homes free of secondhand smoke.
Methods: The literature was searched for population level policy options and evidence on them. Three criteria were used to evaluate the policy options: effectiveness, the reductions on inequalities in secondhand smoke exposure, and cost effectiveness. The setting was four developed, English speaking jurisdictions: Britain, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.
Results: Evidence from all four countries shows some association between relatively comprehensive tobacco control programmes and lower prevalence levels of smoking in homes. The evidence of the effect of such programmes on inequalities in smokefree home prevalence is limited. No published evidence was found of the cost effectiveness of the programmes in achieving changes in smokefree homes. Within comprehensive programmes, there is some indirect evidence that some mass media campaigns could increase the prevalence of smokefree homes. Structural options that have potential to support smokefree homes include smokefree places legislation, and laws for the protection of children.
Conclusion: The available evidence to date suggests that comprehensive tobacco control programmes (to reduce the prevalence of smoking in the total population) are likely to be the most effective and sustainable option for increasing the prevalence of smokefree homes.
- tobacco smoke pollution
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Funding: this work is part of the Housing and Health Research Programme/He Kainga Oranga of the University of Otago (Wellington), funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.
Competing interests: The Housing and Health Research Programme/He Kainga Oranga has had contracts with the New Zealand Ministry of Health. George Thomson has performed contracts for the New Zealand Smokefree Coalition and ASH.