Ladies Home Journal Essay Contest Results For Indoor/Smokers

1. Introduction

Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure is known to cause adverse health outcomes among non-smokers [1]. Since there is no minimum threshold at which exposure acts to produce health effects, banning smoking in indoor places is a fundamental approach to protecting non-smokers against SHS exposure [1]. Previous studies have found that smoke-free laws in indoor places are effective at reducing SHS exposure [2,3]. In addition, knowledge about the harmful effects of SHS exposure is an important factor related in reducing SHS exposure. Several studies have indicated that people with better knowledge are more likely to protect themselves and others against SHS exposure by opening windows, establishing a smoking ban in the home, or keeping their children out of a smoking environment [4,5,6].

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), among the one billion smokers worldwide, 80% live in low- and middle-income countries [7]. In China, there are over 300 million smokers, which makes it the country with the world’s largest population of smokers [8]. Previous research has shown that tobacco use could cause premature death in more than one-third of males in China by 2030 [9].

Based on increasing awareness about the harmful effects of SHS exposure, many developed countries have made efforts to reduce SHS exposure in public places and in the home [10,11,12,13,14,15]. However, China’s efforts to protect people from SHS exposure in public places have not been as effective [8].

Although the Chinese Government ratified the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2005, 72% of non-smokers aged 15 and older were still regularly exposed to SHS in 2010, with more than half exposed on a daily basis [16]. Smoking restrictions in public places are usually imposed by public policy. China’s indoor smoking policies differ by region and are mostly only implemented in major cities [17]. Moreover, the policies do not include workplaces [17].

During the past decade, many studies have reported on SHS exposure in China [16,18,19,20,21,22,23]. In 2004, a cross-sectional survey, performed in six counties in China, found that only 6.3% of households had implemented a complete in-home smoking ban [21]. In 2010, a local household survey conducted in Guangdong Province, China suggested that more homes have complete smoking bans [22]. According to the 2010 Global Adult Tobacco Survey-China (GATS China), about 67.3% of adults reported someone smoked at home during past month [23]. King and colleagues used GATS data from 14 countries and examined SHS exposure by age and gender. They found that Chinese residents had relatively high exposure to SHS in the home and workplaces compared to other countries [19]. In other studies, awareness of the harmful effects of smoking and SHS exposure has been linked to a reduced risk of SHS exposure [4,5,6]. While previous studies have provided strong evidence that Chinese individuals are exposed to SHS and lack knowledge of its harmful effects, there has not been an in-depth exploration of the variability in exposure and knowledge by geographic region, occupation, and socioeconomic status. Furthering this understanding may guide the future development of effective tobacco control programs.

We used data from 2010 Global Adults Tobacco Survey-China (GATS China) to examine: (1) the demographic factors associated with the level of knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking; (2) the factors related to implementation of in-home and workplace smoking bans; and (3) geographic differences in being exposed to SHS in government buildings, healthcare facilities, restaurants, public transportations, and schools.

2. Methods

2.1. Study Population

We used data from the 2010 GATS in China, which is a nationally representative household survey of the population aged 15 years and older. As a component of Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS), during 2008 and 2010 the GATS used a standardized method to monitor tobacco use and tobacco control conditions across 16 low-and-middle income countries, including China. The 2010 GATS China used a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling design to produce nationally representative data. In total, 13,354 respondents completed the survey interviews, which are in-person interviews administered by interviewers using hand-held devices. The overall response rate was 96%. Key findings from and additional details of the survey methodology of GATS China are available in the GATS China fact sheet [23].

2.2. Measures

Knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking was assessed with three core questions: “Based on what you know or believe, does smoking tobacco cause the following: Stroke (blood clots in the brain that may cause paralysis)/Heart attack/Lung cancer”? In addition, knowledge of the harmful effect of SHS was measured by questions: “Based on what you know or believe, does breathing smoke from other people’s cigarette cause the following: Heart disease in adult/Lung illness in children/lung cancer in adult”? Participants who answered all three questions correctly were defined as have good knowledge; those who answered any of two questions correctly were defined as having some knowledge, and the rest were defined as have little knowledge.

In-home smoking bans were assessed by the sampled participant’s reporting of smoking rules inside the home. Participants who reported that smoking was not allowed inside the home were classified as having a total smoking ban; those who reported smoking was not allowed but with exceptions to that rule were classified as having partial smoking ban; and those who reported that smoking was allowed or had no rules were defined as having no ban. Participants who reported working indoors were asked to describe the smoking policy at work. Workplace smoking rules were classified as a full ban, a partial ban, and no ban.

SHS exposure in public places was assessed by a set of questions that asked if participants had seen anyone smoking in government buildings, healthcare facilities, on public transportation, in restaurants and at schools during the past 30 days. Healthcare facilities were assessed by the questions that did anyone smoke inside of any “private/village health care facilities”, “hospital or community health care facilities” or “other health care facilities”. People who reported viewing smoking at any location above were defined as being exposed to SHS in public places.

Smoking status was defined by the question: “Do you currently smoke any tobacco product on a daily basis, less than daily, or not at all?” An adult who currently smoked any tobacco product daily or less than daily was defined as current smoker. Demographics variables included age (15–34 years; 35–44 years; 45–59 years; ≥60 years), gender, highest attained education level (“primary school” or less; “secondary school” or less; “high school/technical secondary school”; “college” or higher), region (North; Northeast; East; Mid-south; Southwest; Northwest), urban/rural area, career type (agriculture workers; equipment operator or technician; business or service industry employee; leader of organizations; medical and health personnel; teacher; other), and wealth index. Wealth index was measured by principal component analysis based on a set of questions about whether a household has certain items, including electricity, flush toilet, fixed telephone, cell phone, television, radio, refrigerator, car, moped/scooter/motorcycle, washing machine, and air conditioner/heater [20]. Based on the results of a principal component analysis, the score of first principal component was divided into quintiles to classify a person’s socioeconomic status [20].

2.3. Statistical Analysis

All statistical analyses were conducted using the survey functions in Stata 12.0 (Stata Corporation, College Station, TX, USA). The data were properly weighted using the personal weights, and the survey design features such as strata and clustering were accounted for in the analyses.

Descriptive statistics were calculated for the sample, by smoking status and gender. In addition, the knowledge level of the harmful effects of smoking and SHS exposure were assessed for the sample by demographic characteristics. The prevalence of in-home and workplace smoking bans were reported by household and geographic characteristics. In addition, the prevalence of viewing smoking in public places was estimated by geographic characteristics. Chi-square tests were used to analyze the differences in smoking and SHS related knowledge, smoking bans, and prevalence of viewing smoking in public places by corresponding dependent variables. Individuals who had incomplete information on wealth index variables, knowledge on smoking or SHS exposure, reported in-home or workplace smoking ban, or SHS exposure in public places were excluded from the corresponding analysis.

3. Results

Our study identified the factors related to better knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking and SHS exposure, smoking bans at home and workplaces and SHS exposure in public places. In addition to the existing studies on the topic, our study focused on geographic factors and socioeconomic status including education level, wealth index and career type.

Table 1 summarizes characteristics of 13,354 individuals who were representative of the 1,068,752,451 people aged 15 years and older in China. The weighted data suggests that 28.3% of individuals were current smokers, and approximately 95.8% of current smokers were male. More than half of males reported to be current smokers (52.9%); among females, the smoking prevalence was 2.4%. There was a difference in the age distribution between male and female smokers, with females being older than males. In addition, over half of the female smokers had an educational level lower or equal primary school. In contrast, the majority of the male smokers had an educational level greater than primary school. Moreover, the majority of the female smokers were agriculture workers and none of the female health personnel or teachers were smokers. Interestingly, more than one-third of female smokers were from Northeast China; however, less than 10% of male smokers were from that region.

Table 1. Characteristics of study population by smoking status and gender.

CharacteristicsCurrent Smoker a (28.3%)Non-smoker a (71.7%)
Male (95.8%)Female(4.2%)Totalp ValueMale(33.4%)Female(66.6%)Totalp Value
Age<0.001 *<0.001 *
15–34 Years30.37.729.447.736.039.9
35–44 Years28.025.027.817.725.022.6
45–59 Years29.032.829.217.623.321.4
≥60 Years12.734.513.617.015.716.1
Education<0.001 *<0.001 *
≤Primary School22.059.423.518.634.028.9
≤Secondary School b44.824.044.039.136.237.2
High School/Technical Secondary School b23.210.722.725.618.320.8
≥College10.05.99.816.711.413.2
Urban/Rural0.1960.226
Urban42.450.842.849.346.447.4
Rural57.649.2

Young ladies of Pueblo, this is your chance to write an essay about the woman you want to be and what you will do to become that woman. Tell us about your future and you could win an American Girl Doll!

Contest Rules

Write an essay on the above-mentioned topic in 700 words or less.

Grand Prize

An American Girl Doll, one winner per grade. Winners will be invited to be honored at the Outstanding Women Awards luncheon at the Rawlings Library.


Runner-up Prizes

An American Girl Book, 10 runners up per grade.

Awards Ceremony: Annual High Tea Party

Winners and runners up will be invited to collect their prize and be honored at the Annual High Tea Party at Rawlings Library, Ryals Room, 4th floor. Winners and runners will be able to invite their friends!

Entry Submission

Entries may be submitted to any Pueblo library location. Mail or deliver to Rawlings Library, 100 E. Abriendo Ave., Pueblo, CO 81004 Attn: Community Relations. Please call Sara Schwartz at 553-0220 for more information.

Download entry form below.

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