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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Secondhand Smoke and Radon: The Feasibility of a Collaborative Education and Policy Initiative

Heather E. Robertson, MPA1, Clay Hardwick, BS, RS2, Heather Robbins, BSB, RS2, Ed Lohr, BAS, NRRPT3, Kiyoung Lee, ScD, CIH4, and Ellen J. Hahn, DNS, RN1. (1) College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, 509 CON Building, 760 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40536-0232, (2) Environmental Management Branch, Radon Program, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 275 E. Main St., Frankfort, KY 40621-0001, (3) Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc., 205 Capitol Ave., Frankfort, KY 40601, (4) Preventive Medicine, University of Kentucky, 509 CON Building, 760 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40536-0232


The aim was to determine the feasibility of integrating existing tobacco control with environmental radon programs to reduce exposure to two indoor air pollutants causing lung cancer: secondhand smoke (SHS) and radon. A plan to educate tobacco control and environmental management community staff about the additive health effects of SHS and radon exposure in high risk rural, low-income communities was developed and tested.


A feasibility study was conducted to evaluate a professional and public education and systems change plan. The plan included (a) the design and distribution of a brochure on the additive health effects of SHS and radon; (b) presentations to radon and tobacco coalitions; (c) displays at non-traditional community sites in rural areas (e.g., home and garden shows); and (d) system integration of tobacco control and radon staff in counties at highest risk of home exposure to SHS and radon. Key informant interviews determined level of knowledge, interest in the information, and receptivity for systems change.


The majority of tobacco control and radon professionals were unaware of the additive health effects of SHS and radon exposure, and they operated independently of one another. Disseminating integrated information on SHS and radon helped determine how to begin changing the public health delivery system to encourage more continuity and collaboration among the local tobacco control and radon testing and mitigation programs. Plans are underway to measure passive airborne nicotine and radon in homes of rural, low-income families and test an educational and home policy change intervention.