Smoking in the Household
Exposure to environmental smoke— from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes— can be a serious health hazard for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), more frequent and severe asthma, and acute respiratory infections in young children.1 Parents were asked whether anyone in the household used cigarettes, cigars, or pipe tobacco. Overall, 26.2 percent of children were reported to live in households where someone smokes, 7.8 percent of whom were exposed to secondhand smoke inside their homes (data not shown).
The percentage of children who live in a household with a smoker is considerably higher in rural areas. One-third (33.1 percent) of children in large rural areas and 35.0 percent of those in small rural areas lived with a smoker, compared to 24.4 percent of urban children.
In all locations, children with higher household incomes were less likely to live with a smoker. For example, among children in large rural areas, 44.8 percent of those with household incomes below the Federal poverty level (FPL) lived with a smoker, compared to 19.3 percent of those with household incomes of 400 percent of the FPL or more.
Among Black children, the percentage who lived with a smoker did not vary greatly by location. Variation was evident among White children, of whom 24.9 percent in urban areas lived with a smoker, compared to 36.3 percent in small rural areas. There was also great variation in the percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children who lived with a smoker, ranging from 31.1 percent in urban areas to 52.2 percent in large rural communities.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use, Secondhand Smoke Fact Sheet. September 2006.