Exposure to secondhand smoke in vehicles among Canadian adolescents: Years after the adoption of smoke-free car laws

Sunday Azagba, Keely Latham, Lingpeng Shan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) can result in several adverse health consequences. SHS concentrations in vehicles can significantly exceed levels present in other enclosed spaces. Years after the adoption of smoke-free car laws, this study examined the prevalence of exposure to SHS in vehicles among adolescents. Data were utilized from the 2016–2017 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (n = 48,444). The prevalence of exposure to SHS in cars was estimated by grade level and demographic characteristics. The results showed a gradient by grade level in exposure to SHS with students in upper-grade levels reporting a higher prevalence of SHS in cars. SHS varied by province, with the lowest rate found in British Columbia (15.6%) and the highest in Saskatchewan (36.9%). The provinces with laws that extend protections to older children also had high rates of SHS exposure among students in upper-grade levels. Students exposed to SHS were more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including the use of marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes. Despite laws prohibiting smoking in vehicles carrying children, SHS prevalence remains high. While enforcement of these laws may be challenging, persuasion campaigns highlighting that children are especially vulnerable to the health risks of SHS may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100215
JournalAddictive Behaviors Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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