Second-hand smoke exposure and mitigation strategies among home visitation workers

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Abstract

Objectives

Protection of workers from second-hand smoke (SHS) in occupational settings is an important policy priority, yet little attention has been given to SHS protection for home visitation health workers, who number almost 2 million in the USA. Self-reported SHS exposure, SHS mitigation strategies and suggestions for further SHS exposure reduction approaches were obtained from home visitation health workers in Massachusetts.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was conducted among Massachusetts Early Intervention workers (N=316) at their state-wide conference in April 2010.

Results

Eighty-three per cent of respondents reported at least 1 hour per month of SHS exposure, and 16% reported at least 11 hours per month. Nevertheless, only 22% of workers counselled clients on maintaining a smoke-free home. Fewer than 30% of workers had ever voiced concerns to their employing agency, and just 12% had raised their concerns directly with clients. Only 14% stated that their agency had rules designed to protect workers from SHS.

Conclusions

SHS exposure occurs frequently among home visitation health workers. The data point to a substantial population who are not protected from SHS exposure by formal policies.

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