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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 593; doi:10.3390/ijerph13060593

Smoking and Looked-After Children: A Mixed-Methods Study of Policy, Practice, and Perceptions Relating to Tobacco Use in Residential Units

1
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Division of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK
2
Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Linda Bauld and Rosemary Hiscock
Received: 6 April 2016 / Revised: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 15 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [304 KB, uploaded 24 June 2016]

Abstract

Despite the implementation of smoke-free policies by local authorities and a statutory requirement to promote the health and well-being of looked-after children and young people in England, rates of tobacco use by this population are substantially higher than in the general youth population. A mixed-methods study, comprising a survey of residential care officers in 15 local authority-operated residential units and semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with residential carers in three local authority-operated residential units, was conducted in the East Midlands. Survey data were descriptively analysed; and interview data were transcribed and analysed using thematic framework analysis. Forty-two care officers (18% response rate) completed the survey, and 14 participated in the interviews. Despite reporting substantial awareness of smoke-free policies, a lack of adherence and enforcement became apparent, and levels of reported training in relation to smoking and smoking cessation were low (21%). Potential problems relating to wider tobacco-related harms, such as exploitative relationships; a reliance on tacit knowledge; and pessimistic attitudes towards LAC quitting smoking, were indicated. The findings highlight the need for the development of comprehensive strategies to promote adherence to and enforcement of local smoke-free policy within residential units for looked-after children and young people, and to ensure appropriate support pathways are in place for this population. View Full-Text
Keywords: smoking; smoking cessation; looked-after children; residential care smoking; smoking cessation; looked-after children; residential care
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Huddlestone, L.; Pritchard, C.; Ratschen, E. Smoking and Looked-After Children: A Mixed-Methods Study of Policy, Practice, and Perceptions Relating to Tobacco Use in Residential Units. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 593.

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