A Descriptive Analysis of Tobacco Use Policies Among Select Family Day Homes in Virginia
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) has been well established as a danger to children. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause coughing and wheezing, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Childhood exposure to ETS may also increase the risk of developing leukemia and lymphoma in childhood (Mitchell, 1997) as well as developing lung cancer as an adult (Glantz, 1992). Despite the great strides recently made in the implementation of regulatory measures to safeguard children from ETS in public places like schools, there remains significant concern regarding children's exposure at home and in their out-of-home care facilities (Ashley and Ferrence, 1998, Jarvis, 2000). In 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were 336,749 Virginia youth exposed to ETS in the home (State Tobacco Control Highlights, 1999).
The purpose of this study was to ascertain the number of family day home providers who allow smoking in their home and/or those that have some type of smoking policy. The sample consisted of 746 licensed, registered or locally approved family day home providers through the Department of Social Services. Of these childcare providers, 81.5% (n=608) completed a questionnaire about their tobacco use policy and its effects.
An overwhelming majority (94.7%) of providers reported having a tobacco use policy in their family day home. Most of the providers, 67.6% indicated that smoking was allowed outdoors only while 26.3% noted that smoking was not allowed anywhere at any time, indoor or outdoor. Other policy specifics and background information are discussed in the study. The implications of these findings and recommendations for future training and educational programs for family day home providers are also reviewed.