The influence of health messaging source and frequency on maternal smoking and child exposure among low-income mothers

Amy M. Lavery, Uma S. Nair, Sarah Bauerle Bass, Bradley N. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Addressing maternal smoking and child tobacco smoke exposure (TSE) remains a public health priority, particularly in low-income, underserved populations which are known to experience the highest TSE rates and tobacco-related morbidity/mortality. Little is known about the types of TSE messaging received in high-risk populations, and which communication channels are influential in promoting smokers’ efforts to protect children from TSE. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between reported sources and frequency of TSE-reduction health messages maternal smokers received and the effects of the messaging on smoking- and TSE-reduction-related behaviors. Maternal smokers from low-income communities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who were enrolled at baseline in the Family Rules for Establishing Smokefree Homes trial (N = 359) were included in this study. Each participant completed a 60-minute in-home baseline interview, which included questions about their smoking history, current smoking patterns, children's TSE, and the TSE-related health messaging they had received prior to enrollment. Multivariable analyses were conducted to determine the effect of the source messaging on mothers’ knowledge, behavior, and intention regarding their baby's TSE. Results suggest that different sources of messaging may differentially impact smoking behavior and intention to change. For example, messaging from healthcare and dental providers may influence efforts to protect children from TSE whereas friends and family may influence intention to quit. Future studies could examine the value of multilevel health communication strategies, utilizing advice from healthcare providers that is augmented by family and peers to help promote smoking behavior change in this high-risk group of underserved postpartum smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Communication in Healthcare
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Health communication
  • Passive smoking
  • Secondhand smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Information Management


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