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Current Protection Projects

Protection projects include an exploratory study of the physical and social exposure to smoking by adolescents and their impact on behaviour, an observation study of waterpipe use, and a literature synthesis of the health effects of exposure to second smoke in outdoor settings and the impacts of outdoor smoking bans.

Outdoor Exposure to Secondhand Smoke: A Knowledge Synthesis of Health Effects and Economic Costs

Start Date: April, 2012
Expected Date of Completion: March 2013
Principal Investigator and Project Lead: Roberta Ferrence
Principal Investigator Involved: Joanna Cohen
Project Team: Sarah Muir
Funding Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Project Description

This study reviews the literature on health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke in outdoor settings (i.e. patios, setbacks from entrances and windows, parks and playgrounds, hospital grounds etc.), and the economic costs and impacts associated with outdoor smoking bans.

Main Research Questions
  • What are the health effects related to secondhand smoke exposure in outdoor settings?
  • What are the economic costs associated with outdoor smoking bans?
  • What is the impact of each of these interventions?

Methodology

A knowledge synthesis

Physical and Social Exposure to Smoking among Youth and Young Adults

Start Date: April 2012
Expected Date of Completion: March 2013
Project Lead: Pamela Kaufman
Principal Investigators Involved: Steven Brown, Joanna Cohen, Roberta Ferrence
Project Team: Michael Chaiton, Jaklyn Andrews
Funding Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Project Description

It is hypothesized that reducing social exposure (i.e., visual and sensory cues associated with the use of tobacco products) will lead to decreased youth initiation. However, few studies have examined this relationship. The purpose of this project is to develop a research study to measure the frequency and context of social exposure to smoking, and the relationship between social exposure and smoking attitudes and behaviours among adolescents.

Scope

This project involves the development of a research proposal for submission to a funding agency in 2012-13.

Main Research Questions
  • How often and in what physical and social context are adolescents exposed to tobacco use?
  • What is the impact of social exposure on social norms and attitudes about tobacco use?
  • Is higher social exposure to smoking related to smoking susceptibility?

Methodology

A mixed method approach collects data on social exposures, attitudes and smoking behaviour among adolescents, including Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) using a mobile survey application, GPS tracking technology and semi-structured interviews. The methods will build on a protocol developed by the investigators as part of a feasibility study in 2011-12.

Putting Thirdhand Smoke on the Policy Agenda: An Expert Panel

Start Date: October 2011
Expected Date of Completion: September 2012
Principal Investigator: Pam Kaufman
Co-Investigators: Roberta Ferrence, Marilyn Pope, Bo Zhang
Project Team: Marian Smith
Source of Funding: CIHR

Project Description

Thirdhand smoke is tobacco smoke contamination that remains after a cigarette is extinguished. Its role in the broader context of tobacco control efforts is still unknown. An international, multidisciplinary expert panel has met and is reviewing and disseminating evidence on thirdhand smoke (THS) to knowledge users in science, medicine, public health and policy.

Main Research Questions
  •  What are the current gaps in knowledge and opportunities for research about THS?
  • What are the implications of existing knowledge for public health policy?

Methodology

  • Meeting of expert panel
  • Webinar/seminar for knowledge users
  • Assessment of knowledge users’ beliefs and opinions about THS pre- and post-meeting
  • Development and production of knowledge translation products

Smoke-Free Affordable Housing in Canada: Promoting Health and Health Equity

Start Date: March 2012
Expected Date of Completion: March 2013
Principal Investigator: Pam Kaufman
Co-investigators: Roberta Ferrence, Pippa Beck, Ryan Kennedy
Project Team: Julie Kang
Source of Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Project Description

Smoke-free policies have been gaining momentum in recent years in North America. While there are some smoke-free policies in multi-unit dwellings across Canada, few housing authorities have implemented such policies in their social housing.

This research uses a case study approach to investigate the impact of Canadian residential tenancy legislation and policy approaches on the implementation of smoke-free policies in affordable housing, the experiences and behaviours of residents, and levels of SHS exposure.

Methodology
  • Focus groups and interviews with key informants, tenants and those on housing wait lists.
  • Review of existing legal briefs, assessments and evaluation surveys for each case study,
  • Air quality measurements in multiple building types

Smoke-Free Homes and Asthma Pilot Intervention Study

Start Date: May 2010
Expected Date of Completion: March 2013
Principal Investigator: Robert Schwartz
Co-investigators: Ken Allison, Susan Bondy, Geoff Fong, Pam Kaufman, Roberta Ferrence
Project Team: Emily Taylor
Source of Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Project Description

Exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) by children and adolescents is an important health and social policy concern in Canada and elsewhere. A promising intervention to reduce children’s exposure involves the use of coaching and Motivational Interviewing (MI) to counsel families to develop the capacity for establishing smoke-free homes and vehicles.

This project is a pilot intervention to assess the effectiveness of this approach in promoting smoke-free homes among Ontario families. The delivery of the intervention is through the Primary Care Asthma Program (PCAP), which has a mandate to provide asthma management to families through 12 regional sites in Ontario.

Scope

The intervention consists of two in-person counselling sessions and two follow-up telephone counselling sessions with a sample of target parents who are clients of the PCAPs. Participants also receive a Smoke-Free Homes Kit and a short visit with a physician.

Main Research Questions
  • What is the preliminary effectiveness of a pilot intervention in reducing children’s exposure to SHS through the establishment of smoke-free homes?
  • What is the preliminary effectiveness of the pilot on reducing asthma symptoms and hospital emergency department visits?
  • What is the feasibility of having Certified Respiratory Educators of PCAPs deliver the pilot intervention?

Methodology

  • Self-report measures (pre and post intervention)
  • In-home nicotine monitoring.
  • Process evaluation assessing staff training, specific aspects of the intervention, and feasibility

Waterpipe Use in Toronto Canada

Start Date: April 2012
Expected Date of Completion: March 2013
Principal Investigator and Project Lead: Roberta Ferrence
Principal Investigator Involved: Joanna Cohen
Project Team: Pamela Kaufman, Bo, Zhang, Farzana Haji
Funding Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Project Description

Waterpipe smoking is becoming a growing public health concern. The evidence to date suggests that waterpipe smoke is at least as toxic as cigarette smoke. There are gaps in understanding/knowledge about exposure levels to toxic constituents of waterpipe in various public venues, and the context of use. This study contributes to understanding of the context of waterpipe use and exposure to toxic constituents, and to the development of survey items to inform our understanding of prevalence, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of use

Scope

This project has two components:

  • The first component is an observational study of waterpipe cafes in Toronto, Canada to collect real-time data on ambient waterpipe smoke, both tobacco and herbal, indoors and out, and to collect observational data on the use of waterpipe in public venues.
  • The second component reviews the feasibility and costs of follow up of respondents of a provincial survey to gain better understanding of the prevalence, attitudes and behaviours of Ontario residents of waterpipe use.

Main Research Questions

  • What are levels of various toxicants in waterpipe venues?
  • How is waterpipe promoted in these venues?
  • What is the prevalence of waterpipe use, knowledge of health risks, attitudes and behaviours?

Methodology

  • Observational field work
  • Air quality measurement
  • Survey development