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Published in: Health Psychology, Vol. 35, 2016.


Objective—Determine if secondhand smoke exposure (SHSE) is related to asthma-related functional morbidity by examining racial/ethnic differences in Non-Latino White (NLW), African American, and Latino families and whether racial/ethnic SHSE differences across families persist when accounting for smoking factors.

Methods—Participants were 305 caregiver smokers of children with asthma. Two passive dosimeters measured SHS: one in the home and one worn by the child.

Results—Higher SHSE was related to greater asthma-related functional morbidity. African Americans had higher levels of home SHSE than Latinos (p = .003) or NLWs (p = .021). SHSE as assessed by the child worn dosimeter did not differ across race/ethnicity. African American families were less likely to report a household smoking ban (46.4%) compared to Latinos (79.2%) and NLWs (67.9%; p < .05). African Americans were less likely to report having two or more smokers in the home (37.2%) compared to NLWs (53.6%; p < .05). NLWs reported the highest number of cigarettes smoked daily (Mdn = 15.00) compared to Latinos (Mdn = 10.00; p = .001) and African Americans (Mdn = 10.00; p < .001). SHS home exposure levels were regressed on race/ethnicity and relevant covariates. Household smoking ban (p < .001) and only one smoker in the home (p = .005) were associated with lower levels of SHS in the home; race/ethnicity was not significant.

Conclusions—Differences in SHSE across race/ethnicity exist among children with asthma, possibly due to differential presence of a household smoking ban and number of smokers in the home.