This paper aims to review the effectiveness of a Smoke‐free Homes Project in a deprived area, Salford, in the UK. The project aimed to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke within the home, chiefly amongst households with resident smokers.
Local people from ten deprived communities were recruited as Smoke‐free Advisors, raising awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke and “rewarding” participants for making one of three smoke‐free promises, ranging from keeping their home smoke‐free (gold promise) to not smoking around children.
In nine months, the project more than doubled its original target of 1,440 smoke‐free households, achieving 3,261 smoke‐free promises. Three‐quarters of these were the full, “gold” promise. At follow up, 98 per cent claimed they had kept to their promise, with 72 per cent describing this as “fairly easy” or “very easy”. Most common reasons given for signing up were children's health or meeting a Smoke‐free Advisor. The target for 50 per cent of promises to come from households with at least one smoker was narrowly missed: 47 per cent was achieved. Although not directly targeting cessation, 81 per cent of smokers reported changes to their smoking habit: one‐quarter quitting, 14 per cent trying unsuccessfully, and 42 per cent cutting down.
Smoke‐free Homes Projects have much to contribute in terms of denormalising smoking in deprived areas.
Despite their popularity, Smoke‐free Homes Projects have rarely been evaluated for effectiveness. This project demonstrated that a three‐stage model using local people can reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, alongside smoking itself, in areas where smoking is often seen as “the norm”.
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