Exposure to Hookah and Cigarette Smoke in Children and Adolescents According to Their Socio-Economic Status: The CASPIAN-IV Study

Background: Exposure to smoking or passive smoking is one of serious health problems especially in the pediatric age group. Objectives: To compare the prevalence and determinants of passive smoking in a nationally representative sample of Iranian children and adolescents according to their socioeconomic status (SES). Materials and Methods: This nationwide study was conducted in 2011 - 2012 among 14880 students aged 6 - 18 years, living in 30 provinces in Iran. Exposure to the smoke of hookah or cigarette was documented by using validated questionnaires. Possible influencing factors were determined and the frequency of passive smoking was compared according to the regional and familial SES. Results: Participants consisted of 13,486 children and adolescents including 49.2% girls and 75.6% urban inhabitants (90.6% participation rate). The mean age of participants was 12.47 ± 3.36 years. Overall, 43.87% of them (44.07% of boys and 43.66% of girls) were exposed to second hand smoke at home. Exposures to hookah or cigarette smoke at home were respectively reported in 21.46% and 34.49% of participants. The prevalence of passive smoking was lower in children of families with higher SES level, but higher in high SES regions of the country than in low SES ones, and ranged from 39.2% in the region with lowest SES to 49.05% in the highest SES region. Higher education levels of fathers and mothers were significantly associated with lower frequency of passive smoking. Conclusions: Exposure to second hand smoke is a major problem among Iranian children and adolescents. Low family SES and low parental education increased the frequency of passive smoking. Appropriate public health education and legislation for smoke free home as well as family-centered counseling should be strengthened.