Feasibility of measuring tobacco smoke air pollution in homes: Report from a pilot study

Laura Rosen*, David Zucker, Melbourne Hovell, Nili Brown, Amit Ram, Vicki Myers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Tobacco smoke air pollution (TSAP) measurement may persuade parents to adopt smoke-free homes and thereby reduce harm to children from tobacco smoke in the home. In a pilot study involving 29 smoking families, a Sidepak was used to continuously monitor home PM2.5 during an 8-h period, Sidepak and/or Dylos monitors provided real-time feedback, and passive nicotine monitors were used to measure home air nicotine for one week. Feedback was provided to participants in the context of motivational interviews. Home PM2.5 levels recorded by continuous monitoring were not well-accepted by participants because of the noise level. Also, graphs from continuous monitoring showed unexplained peaks, often associated with sources unrelated to indoor smoking, such as cooking, construction, or outdoor sources. This hampered delivery of a persuasive message about the relationship between home smoking and TSAP. By contrast, immediate real-time PM2.5 feedback (with Sidepak or Dylos monitor) was feasible and provided unambiguous information; the Dylos had the additional advantages of being more economical and quieter. Air nicotine sampling was complicated by the time-lag for feedback and questions regarding shelf-life. Improvement in the science of TSAP measurement in the home environment is needed to encourage and help maintain smoke-free homes and protect vulnerable children. Recent advances in the use of mobile devices for real-time feedback are promising and warrant further development, as do accurate methods for real-time air nicotine air monitoring.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)15129-15142
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - 30 Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Air quality (AQ)
  • Children’s health
  • Environmental exposure
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)
  • Particulate matter (PM)
  • Respirable suspended particles (RSP)
  • Secondhand smoke (SHS)
  • Smoke-free homes
  • Tobacco smoke exposure (TSE)


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