Measuring Air Quality to Protect Children from Secondhand Smoke in Cars

Secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) is a major, preventable contributor to acute and chronic adverse health outcomes that affect children disproportionately. The predominant source of SHS among children is domestic exposure, and while up to two thirds of U.S. households have car smoking bans, an unacceptable number of children remain vulnerable. To help promote more effective protection through legislation, health communication strategies, or behavioral interventions, data demonstrating the adverse effect of SHS on air quality in cars are needed. In this study, secondhand tobacco smoke in a motor vehicle under actual driving conditions was monitored by measuring respirable suspended particles (RSPs) of less than 2.5 microns in diameter, and carbon monoxide. Forty-five driving trials were conducted, using teams of volunteer drivers and smokers recruited from the general community. Three smoking conditions (nonsmoking baseline, active smoking, and immediate post-smoking period, each 5 minutes) were crossed with two ventilation conditions (windows open, closed) in a 3 × 2 within-sessions factorial design. The highest mean observed RSP level was 271 micrograms per meter cubed, which is unsafe, particularly for children. Peak RSP levels were considerably higher. RSPs and carbon monoxide increased significantly from baseline after smoking, and these increases were greatest during the closed ventilation condition, compared with open ventilation. The authors conclude that private passenger cars are a domestic environment with the potential to yield unsafe levels of SHS contaminants. These data may assist policymakers and health advocates to promote protective strategies to ensure smoke-free domestic environments for children.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Abstract reprinted with permission of Elsevier.
  • Authors:
    • Rees, Vaughan W
    • Connolly, Gregory N
  • Publication Date: 2006-11

Language

  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01056006
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 30 2007 11:56AM