Blowing smoke: strategies smokers use to protect non-smokers from environmental tobacco smoke in the home


Hill, Lola; Farquharson, Karen; Borland, Ron

Available versions


Issue addressed: Research has suggested that many smokers wish to protect the non-smokers they live with, particularly children, from exposure to their tobacco smoke. This study investigates the strategies smokers use to protect non-smokers from exposure to tobacco smoke in their homes, how effective they perceive these strategies to be, and what they perceive as obstacles to making their homes smoke-free. Methods: Audio-taped, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 Australian apartment dwelling smokers. We focused on smokers who live in apartments because the structural barriers they face in order to become smoke-free appear higher than those who live in houses. Apartments are also more likely to house socially disadvantaged people, people who research has shown are less likely to have smoke- free homes than the socially advantaged. Conclusions: Participants use two main strategies (opening windows, or smoking in a separate room). Other than factors such as lack of private outdoor space and nicotine dependence, participants reported that psychosocial factors, such as preferring to smoke in comfort and wanting to honour preferences of family and friends to smoke indoors, hinder their attainment of smoke- free homes.

Publication year


Publication type

Journal article


Health Promotion Journal of Australia, Vol. 14, no. 3 (Dec 2003), pp. 196-201




Australian Health Promotion Association


Copyright © 2003 Australian Health Promotion Association. The published version is reproduced with the permission of the publisher.