3.1. Descriptive and Demographic Characteristics
The study population’s descriptive characteristics are depicted in below. Children of pre-school age (4–6 years old) comprised the largest age group (47%), followed by toddlers of 1–3 years (31.7%). Sixty six percent of the fathers and 50% of the mothers were smokers with an average consumption of 16.3 and 9.3 cigarettes per day. The parental smoking habits were similar in regards to only the type of tobacco consumed as almost all participants consumed cigarettes (except two men, who smoked cigars), while when investigating into the percentage of households that were exposed to parental smoke (mother or father a smoker) 69.2% of households had at least one parent that smokes in front of their child, exposing it to SHS, while in 19.6% of the households both parents’ reported smoking in front of their children.
Descriptive characteristics of the study population.
In addition to the above, the mean age was 4.8 years for both males and females (p=0.813). Fathers on average were older (36.4 vs. 32.1 years) and had a higher level of education than mothers with 71.9% percent of the fathers having a higher university education, in comparison to 58.2% of the mothers.
3.2. Factors Related to Parental Induced SHS Exposure in the Car and House
To investigate into the parental characteristics which were associated with reports of household SHS exposure (None vs. reported household exposure to parental SHS), initially a univariate analysis was performed. Specifically the fathers’ level of education, parental smoking habits, the mothers’ age and the number of smokers in the house were found to be significantly related (p<0.05) to household exposure to parental SHS as seen in .
Characteristics associated to the self reported SHS exposure in the home in the univariate analysis.
In addition to the univariate analysis used to investigate into the predictors of household SHS exposure a second univariate analysis was performed to investigate into the characteristics that were related with childhood exposure to SHS in the family car (data not shown). The analysis revealed that the higher the number of cigarettes smoked per day by the father (p<0.001) and the larger number of children in the family were significantly associated to exposure to paternal related smoking in the car (p=0.019). On the contrary the fathers level of education (p=0.507), the child’s gender (p=0.924), the child’s age (p=0.687), and the fathers age (p=0.714), were not found to be significantly associated with paternal smoking in the car. Similar findings were also found when investigating into the relationship between maternal characteristics and maternal smoking in the family car, with only the number of cigarettes smoked per day found to be associated with parental SHS in the family car, while the mothers age (p=0.227) and level of education (p=0.575) as also the child’s gender (p=0.469) and age (p=0.471), were not related to maternal self reported smoking in the car.
3.3. Paternal Characteristics Found to Mediate Childhood SHS Exposure in the House and Family Car
The multivariate logistic regression analysis provided a clearer insight into the actual characteristics that influence paternal induced childhood exposure to SHS in the house and family car. According to the performed backward stepwise multivariate analysis, (), household SHS exposure due to paternal smoking was associated with the number of cigarettes smoked per day the father (p<0.001), the child’s age (younger children were more likely to be exposed to paternal smoke) (p=0.026) and if his spouse is a non smoker (O.R 0.44 95%C.I: 0.24–0.80, p=0.007), additionally a trend was noticed for lower educated fathers to be less likely to expose their children to SHS in the house in comparison to their higher educated peers (O.R 0.57 95%C.I: 0.30–1.07, p=0.077).
Adjusted Odds Ratio of the paternal characteristics that were found to be significantly associated with childhood exposure to SHS due to parental smoking*.
An additional regression analysis was performed so as to reveal the characteristics that would influence paternal smoking in the family car with children as passengers. Again the number of cigarettes consumed per day by the father affected childhood SHS exposure (p<0.001), as also the number of children in the family (B coefficient = 0.33, p=0.026). Although a trend was noticed for the spouses lower educational status to have a protective effect on paternal smoking habits in the car (controlling for her smoking status), this relationship did not reach the point of statistical significance.
3.4. Maternal Characteristics Found to Mediate Childhood SHS Exposure in the House and Family Car
The characteristics that wee found to influence childhood exposure to SHS due to the mothers smoking habits as seen in . The only factor that was found to significantly influence maternal smoking inside the house or family car in the presence of her children were the number of cigarettes smoked by the mother per day (p=0.019 and p<0.001 respectively), while a tendency for lower educated mothers to expose their children higher to SHS was also noted although it did not reach the level of statistical significance (O.R 1.51 95%C.I: 0.95–2.40, p=0.083). While the fathers educational status was not associated with maternal smoking habits in the house, a borderline tendency for his educational status to influence maternal smoking in the car was noticed (p=0.054) with mothers who smoke inside the car more likely to have a lower educated spouse (O.R 2.23, 95%C.I: 0.99–5.01, p=0.054).
Adjusted Odds Ratio of the maternal characteristics that were found to be significantly associated with childhood exposure to SHS due to maternal smoking*.