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Validity of self-reported adult secondhand smoke exposure

OBJECTIVES: Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke (SHS) has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease. The current study evaluated brief self-report screening measures for accurately identifying adult cardiology patients with clinically significant levels of SHS exposure in need of intervention.DESIGN AND SETTING: A cross-sectional study conducted in a university-affiliated cardiology clinic and cardiology inpatient service.PATIENTS: Participants were 118 non-smoking patients (59% male, mean age=63.6 years, SD=16.8) seeking cardiology services.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Serum cotinine levels and self-reported SHS exposure in the past 24 h and 7 days on 13 adult secondhand exposure to smoke (ASHES) items.RESULTS: A single item assessment of SHS exposure in one’s own home in the past 7 days was significantly correlated with serum cotinine levels (r=0.41, p<0.001) with sensitivity ≥75%, specificity >85% and correct classification rates >85% at cotinine cut-off points of >0.215 and >0.80 ng/mL. The item outperformed multi-item scales, an assessment of home smoking rules, and SHS exposure assessed in other residential areas, automobiles and public settings. The sample was less accurate at self-reporting lower levels of SHS exposure (cotinine 0.05-0.215 ng/mL).CONCLUSIONS: The single item ASHES-7d Home screener is brief, assesses recent SHS exposure over a week’s time, and yielded the optimal balance of sensitivity and specificity. The current findings support use of the ASHES-7d Home screener to detect SHS exposure and can be easily incorporated into assessment of other major vital signs in cardiology.

Authors: Prochaska JJ; Grossman W; Young-Wolff KC; Benowitz NL

​Tob Control. 2015 Jan;24(1):48-53. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051174. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

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