In a city with high smoking rates, 52 percent of smokers with pre-teen children in their households said they permit smoking at home, a new study has found. The study, by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, also suggested that certain antismoking messages, including a focus on the effects of secondhand smoke on children, were promising approaches to influence more smokers to ban at-home smoking.

The study, published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research in August 2013, analyzed data from a telephone survey in May-June 2012 of 456 parents or caretakers of households in Philadelphia with children under the age of 13. Philadelphia has the highest proportion of adult smokers (23 percent in 2012) among the 10 largest U.S. cities.

The study was funded by the Philadelphia Department of Health as part of its Get Health Philly initiative.

The study estimated the prevalence of homes with small children in which smoking was permitted or restricted, what effect restrictions have on smoking in the home, and what factors would influence an individual’s intention to limit smoking in the home.

Smokers in households with complete bans on smoking reported that there were fewer cigarettes smoked daily at home than those without restrictions. In homes with smoking bans, an average of 1.8 cigarettes were smoked a day; in homes with a partial ban, it was 9.5 cigarettes; and in homes with no restrictions, it was 16.1 cigarettes a day.

“There are lots of opportunities for effective interventions that would help Philadelphians who smoke institute home-smoking restrictions,” said Michael Hennessy, the lead author of the report and a senior research analyst at the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Among the ways to change smokers’ intentions, the study suggested, was to influence their beliefs about the effects of smoking. “If caregivers believe that smoke-free homes can improve the health of their children, they might be empowered to take a stronger stand against smoking in the home,” the researchers said.

To read the full news release on the study, click here.

To read the study, click here.