Do smokers want to protect non-smokers from the harms of secondhand smoke in cars? Findings from the EUREST-PLUS ITC Europe Surveys
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Catalan Institute of Oncology, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, L’Hopitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
CIBER of Respiratory Diseases, Madrid, Spain
Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention, Brussels, Belgium
School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Health Promotion Foundation, Warsaw, Poland
Department for Health Tobacco Control Research Group, University of Bath, United Kingdom
President Stanislaw Wojciechowski State University of Applied Sciences, Kalisz, Poland
German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Ontario, Canada
Publication date: 2020-10-22
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(Supplement):A24
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There is currently no comprehensive legislation protecting non-smokers and children from secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in private cars at the European Union (EU) level.

This study aims to assess smokers’ support for smoke-free cars legislation in six EU countries.

Data come from the EUREST-PLUS ITC Europe Surveys: Wave 1 (2016; n=6011) and Wave 2 (2018; n=6027) conducted in Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Spain. Support for smoke-free cars carrying pre-school children and non-smokers as well as the voluntary implementation of smoke-free car rules were assessed among adult smokers. Generalised estimating equations models were used to assess changes in support between waves.

In 2018, 96.3% (95% CI: 95.4–97.0%) of the overall sample supported smoke-free legislation for cars carrying pre-school children, representing an increase of 2.4 percentage points in comparison to 2016. Smoke-free legislation for cars transporting non-smokers was supported by 85.2% (95% CI: 83.1–87.1%) of smokers in 2016 and 90.2% (95% CI: 88.6–91.7%) in 2018. Among smokers who owned cars, there was a significant 7.2 percentage-point increase in voluntary implementation of smoke-free car rules carrying children from 2016 (60.7%; 95% CI: 57.2–64.0%) to 2018 (67.9%; 95% CI: 65.1–70.5%). All sociodemographic groups of smokers reported support higher than 80% in 2018.

The vast majority of smokers in all six EU countries support smoke-free legislation for cars carrying pre-school children and non-smokers. This almost universal support across countries and sociodemographic groups is a clear indicator of a window of opportunity for the introduction of comprehensive legislation to protect non-smokers and children from SHS exposure in cars.

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