BMJ Open 3:e003128 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003128
  • Public health
    • Research

Children, smoking households and exposure to second-hand smoke in the home in rural Australia: analysis of a national cross-sectional survey

  1. Megan E Passey
  1. University Centre for Rural Health, University of Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jo M Longman; jo.longman{at}
  • Received 26 April 2013
  • Revised 4 June 2013
  • Accepted 12 June 2013
  • Published 6 July 2013


Objectives This paper aimed to explore the association between rurality and (1) household smoking status and (2) home second-hand smoke exposure, in households with children aged 0–14 years.

Design Cross-sectional study.

Setting Households across Australia.

Participants Households across the country were randomly selected to provide a nationally representative sample. Respondents were persons aged 12 years or older in each household who were next going to celebrate their birthday.

Primary outcome measures Household smoking status and smoking inside the home.

Methodology The 2010 Australian National Drug Strategy Household survey data were analysed to explore the prevalence of household smoking and home second-hand smoke exposure in rural and urban households with children. Multivariable logistic regression was used to explore the association of rurality with household smoking and with home second-hand smoke exposure, controlling for potential confounders.

Results Households with children were more likely to be smoking households (35.4%, 95% CI 34.2% to 36.5%) than households without children (32.1%, 95% CI 31.3% to 32.8%). Both household smoking (43.6% (95% CI 41.5% to 45.7%) vs 31.4% (95% CI 30.0% to 32.8%)) and home second-hand smoke exposure (8.0% (95% CI 6.8% to 9.1%) vs 5.2% (95% CI 4.5% to 5.8%)) were significantly more common for rural children. In multivariate analyses controlling for confounding factors, rurality remained associated with smoking households (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.37), whereas it did not remain associated with children's home second-hand smoke exposure (OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.35). Larger household size, low socioeconomic status and being a single-parent household were the main drivers of home second-hand smoke exposure.

Conclusions The proportion of smoking households with children, and the number of children regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes remain important public health concerns. Smoking cessation support and tobacco control policies might benefit from targeting larger and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged households including single-parent households.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

blog comments powered by Disqus