Last updated: January 30, 2017
By the Division of Maternal and Child Health
Exposure to secondhand smoke in children is decreasing over time—that is, fewer children are reportedly exposed to secondhand smoke. This may reflect downward trends in smoking, or that more adults are smoking outside or in locations where children are not present. In 2003, 28% of children lived in households where someone smoked. In the latest National Survey of Children’s Health, this percentage had decreased to 22%. This is a statistically significant decline.
- Children whose parents are married (13.8%) are less likely to live in a household where someone smokes, compared to children in unmarried households (37.6%).
- Vermonters with private health insurance (12.0%) have a lower smoking exposure rate than those with Medicaid (33.7%).
- Vermont’s smoking exposure rate for children with special health care needs (29.8%) is higher than that for those without such needs (19.3%).
- Smoking exposure rates decline significantly with increasing household income. Vermont as significantly higher exposure rates in the lowest income category, and comparable rates elsewhere (48.9% for households with incomes less than 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL); 32.0% for 100-199% FPL; 17.4% for 200-299% FPL; and 9.1% for greater than 400% FPL).
For more detail and background, view the Health Department’s Division of Maternal and Child Health information brief at: http://healthvermont.gov/family/reports/maternal-and-child-health-priorities-brief
This is reflective of a national pattern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to secondhand smoke has steadily decreased in the United States over time. During 1988–1991, almost 90 of every 100 (87.9%) nonsmokers had measurable levels of cotinine, whereas, during 2011–2012, about 25 of every 100 (25.3%) nonsmokers had measurable levels of cotinine.