Abstract

Objective:

This study examines the proportion and characteristics of smokers who smoke in cars with nonsmokers across four countries and the potentially modifiable correlates of this behavior.

Methods:

Respondents included a total of 6,786 current adult smokers from Wave 6 (September 2007–February 2008) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey, a random digit-dial telephone survey of nationally representative samples of adult smokers in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

Results:

Reports of smoking in cars with nonsmokers ranged from a low of 29% in Australia and the United Kingdom, to 34% in Canada, and to a high of 44% in the United States. Daily smokers who were from the United States, male, and younger were the most likely to smoke in cars with nonsmokers. Several potentially modifiable factors were also found to be related to this behavior, including smoke-free homes and beliefs about the dangers of cigarette smoke exposure to nonsmokers.

Conclusions:

A considerable proportion of smokers continue to smoke in cars with nonsmokers across the four countries, particularly in the United States. Public health campaigns should educate smokers about the hazards of cigarette smoke exposure and promote the need for smoke-free cars. These findings provide a foundation of evidence relevant for jurisdictions that are considering banning smoking in cars.

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