Abstract
THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN ILLITERACY OF PARENTS AND REGULAR EXPOSURE OF THEIR CHILDREN TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE AT HOME

Merghani T.H.*

ABSTRACT

Background: Cigarette smoking is a significant problem among both illiterate and educated people. However, it is unknown whether parental education plays a role in the prevention of passive smoking at the presence of their children. The aim of this study is to investigate the relation of parental education and passive smoking of their children and to assess parental knowledge about the adverse health effects of passive smoking on the children. Methods: A total of 159 primary school-pupils, 9 to 14 years old, participated in the study. All the pupils were not active smokers. Parents of each pupil filled a questionnaire requesting information about their smoking habits, their educational attainment, whether their children are regularly exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at home or not, and their awareness about the hazards of passive smoking on their child's health. Results: A single or both parents were responsible for 70% of second-hand smoke at home and close relatives for the rest. The relation of illiteracy of one or both parents and passive smoking of their child was statistically insignificant. The negative effects of passive smoking on a child's health were known to the majority of all parents in the study group with an insignificant difference between the educated and the non-educated ones. However, awareness of the negative effects on pregnancy and fetal health was significantly higher among the fathers of the non-smoking pupils than the fathers of the passive smokers (P< 0.001). Conclusion: Illiteracy of the parents has no association with passive smoking of their children and it is not related to a reduced awareness of the adverse effects of the second-hand smoke on child’s health. Our results suggest that health education alone is not sufficient for the prevention of cigarette smoking at the presence of children. New legislations with more strict sanctions should be considered to prohibit smoking at the presence of children.

Keywords: Passive smoking, Children, Parents, Illiteracy


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