Taiwan’s smoke-free policy reduces secondhand smoke exposure in children
The broadening of smoke-free laws in Taiwan in 2009 appears to have led to a substantial decline in the proportion of children exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) at home from 2005 to 2013, according to a recent study.
Data on 7,911 children aged 3 to 11 years were gathered from the 2005 (n=3,200), 2009 (n=2,657) and 2013 (2,054) National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS) in Taiwan. Investigators compared the prevalence of children's SHS exposure at home before and after the implementation of the smoke-free legislation in 2009 with 2005 data as reference. Sociodemographic, health-related, diet and lifestyle information were obtained via interviews.
The NHIS assessed children's exposure to SHS at home using binary variables (1 for “yes” and 0 for “no”) to represent caregivers’ answers when asked questions. With 2005 as reference, adjusted odds ratios (AORs) were estimated for children's SHS exposure at home in 2009 and 2013 for the overall sample. Exposure was also assessed with respect to household socioeconomic status (SES) and household composition.
Prevalence decreased from 51 percent in 2005 to 32 and 28 percent in 2009 and 2013, respectively. Compared with 2005, children had lower odds of SHS exposure at home in 2009 and 2013 with respective AORs of 0.45 (95 percent CI, 0.41 to 0.51) and 0.41 (0.36 to 0.46). Reduced SHS exposure at home was noted overall after implementation of the legislation, irrespective of household SES and composition.Other variables individually associated with increased SHS exposure in children included low household income, low parental education level, and living with grandparents or with other adults.