Challenging the generational transmission of tobacco smoking: a novel harm reduction approach in vulnerable families

Francesca Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Anti-smoking measures have been effective in reducing smoking in the general population but have been less effective with people in lower economic quintiles. The effects of parental smoking on children are adverse, long reaching and increase the likelihood of smoking in adulthood. Thus, persistent tobacco smoking is often a feature in generational patterns of poverty and marginalization. In this project, the researcher, a social worker, developed a hypothesis about how links between poverty, smoking and its impact on children at risk could be challenged. A literature review was conducted to explore the hypothesis and the findings were used to develop a strategy to work with impoverished, marginalized parents of children considered at risk by the Child Protection system. The strategy was applied as an exploratory study using qualitative methods to garner insights into factors that changed smoking behaviour at home. Quantitative methods were used to measure change. The study indicated that the strategy is promising, with all parents either ceasing or significantly reducing daily smoking. The number of children exposed to tobacco smoke at home was reduced from 36 to 5. The promising results of this study may enhance the range of solution behaviours for parents and social workers seeking to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-115
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Early online date8 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


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