The study protocol for a randomized controlled trial of a family-centred tobacco control program about environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) to reduce respiratory illness in Indigenous infants

Johnston, Vanessa; Walker, Natalie; Thomas, David P.; Glover, Marewa; Chang, Anne B.; Bullen, Chris; Morris, Peter; Brown, Ngiare; Hoorn, Stephen Vander; Borland, Ron; Segan, Catherine; Trenholme, Adrian; Mason, Toni; Fenton, Debra; Ellis, Kane
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10, p114
Academic Journal
Background: Acute respiratory illness (ARI) is the most common cause of acute presentations and hospitalisations of young Indigenous children in Australia and New Zealand (NZ). Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) from household smoking is a significant and preventable contributor to childhood ARI. This paper describes the protocol for a study which aims to test the efficacy of a family-centred tobacco control program about ETS to improve the respiratory health of Indigenous infants in Australia and New Zealand. For the purpose of this paper 'Indigenous' refers to Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when referring to Australian Indigenous populations. In New Zealand, the term 'Indigenous' refers to Maori. Methods/Design: This study will be a parallel, randomized, controlled trial. Participants will be Indigenous women and their infants, half of whom will be randomly allocated to an 'intervention' group, who will receive the tobacco control program over three home visits in the first three months of the infant's life and half to a control group receiving 'usual care' (i.e. they will not receive the tobacco control program). Indigenous health workers will deliver the intervention, the goal of which is to reduce or eliminate infant exposure to ETS. Data collection will occur at baseline (shortly after birth) and when the infant is four months and one year of age. The primary outcome is a doctor-diagnosed, documented case of respiratory illness in participating infants. Discussion: Interventions aimed at reducing exposure of Indigenous children to ETS have the potential for significant benefits for Indigenous communities. There is currently a dearth of evidence for the effect of tobacco control interventions to reduce children's exposure to ETS among Indigenous populations. This study will provide high-quality evidence of the efficacy of a family-centred tobacco control program on ETS to reduce respiratory illness. Outcomes of our study will be important and significant for Indigenous tobacco control in Australia and New Zealand and prevention of respiratory illness in children. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12609000937213)


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