Effect of household children on adult ED smokers' motivation to quit

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Attitude to Health; Cross-Sectional Studies; Emergency Service, Hospital; Female; Humans; Male; *Motivation; *Parent-Child Relations; Smoking Cessation; Social Class; Tobacco Smoke Pollution


Emergency Medicine


OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized adult parenting smokers in the emergency department (ED) have a higher interest in quitting and may be more amenable to tobacco cessation counseling than smokers without children.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey study of adult smokers in 8 US academic EDs.

RESULTS: One thousand one hundred sixty-eight smokers enrolled, 441 (37.8%) with household children (total of 973 exposed children). Compared to smokers without household children, smokers with children were younger (mean age, 37.4 vs 42.8 years), more female (60.3% vs 40.3%), and nonwhite (57.5% vs 44.5%) (all P < .006). Groups did not differ in nicotine addiction (median Fagerstrom score, 4 vs 4; P = .31). Parenting smokers were more interested in quitting (mean Ladder of Contemplation score, 4.8 vs 5.1 [P = .02]), felt it more important to quit (median score, 9 vs 8 [P = .01]), and more confident to quit (7 vs 6 [P = .004]) than nonparenting smokers. Smoking inside the home was banned by 45% of smokers with children vs 30% without household children (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Adult ED parenting smokers are interested in quitting and taking steps to limit their children's secondhand smoke exposure. Asking adult ED smokers about household children may enhance motivation to quit.

DOI of Published Version



Am J Emerg Med. 2008 Sep;26(7):757-62. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The American journal of emergency medicine


At the time of publication, Edwin Boudreaux was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID