Parental receptivity to child biomarker testing for tobacco smoke exposure: A qualitative study

Laura J. Rosen*, Efrat Tillinger, Nurit Guttman, Shira Rosenblat, David M. Zucker, Frances Stillman, Vicki Myers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: Widespread tobacco smoke exposure (TSE) of children suggests that parents may be unaware of their children's exposure. Biomarkers demonstrate exposure and may motivate behavior change, but their acceptability is not well understood. Methods: Sixty-five in-depth interviews were conducted with parents of young children, in smoking families in central Israel. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Consent to testing was associated with desire for information, for reassurance or to motivate change, and with concerns for long-term health, taking responsibility for one's child, and trust in research. Opposition to testing was associated with preference to avoid knowledge, reluctance to cause short-term discomfort, perceived powerlessness, and mistrust of research.Most parents expressed willingness to allow measurement by urine (83%), hair (88%), or saliva (93%), but not blood samples (43%); and believed that test results could motivate behavior change. Conclusions: Parents were receptive to non-invasive child biomarker testing. Biomarker information could help persuade parents who smoke that their children need protection. Practice implications: Biomarker testing of children in smoking families is an acceptable and promising tool for education, counseling, and motivation of parents to protect their children from TSE. Additionally, biomarker testing allows objective assessment of population-level child TSE.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1439-1445
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


  • Biomarker testing
  • Parental attitudes
  • Parental education and counseling
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Thematic analysis
  • Tobacco smoke exposure


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