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Protecting Young Children from Tobacco Smoke Exposure: AUA SPH Publishes Article in the Most-Cited Pediatric Journal

 By the AUA School of Public Health

YEREVAN, Armenia – A team of researchers from the American University of Armenia (AUA) School of Public Health (AUA SPH), in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (Dr. Francis Stillman), recently published an article in PEDIATRICS on the effectiveness of intervention in reducing children’s secondhand smoke exposure in the home. The article was based on a research project by Dr. Arusyak Harutyunyan, MD, MPH, Research Associate/Project Coordinator at AUA’s Center for Health Services Research and Development (CHSR), Dr. Narine Movsisyan, CHSR Senior Researcher, Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan, AUA SPH Associate Dean, and Dr. Diana Petrosyan, MPH ’09.

PEDIATRICS is an official peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The journal is among the top 2% most-cited scientific and medical journals (among 8,005) and the most-cited journal in the field of pediatrics.

The article “Reducing Children’s Exposure to Secondhand Smoke at Home: A Randomized Trial” was published online on November 4, 2013 and in the December issue of the PEDIATRICS. The article is based on the findings of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in the frame of the three-year collaborative research project between AUA SPH and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Global Tobacco Control. The Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI) Center of Excellence in Translational Research at Johns Hopkins University funded the project.

The research team randomized 250 households with children aged 2–6 years to an intensive intervention (counseling sessions, distribution of tailored educational brochures, demonstration of home air pollution, and two follow-up counseling telephone calls) or minimal intervention (distribution of standard leaflets) to assess the effectiveness of interventions in reducing children’s exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. The study concluded that the intensive intervention was effective in decreasing children’s exposure to secondhand smoke through educating mothers and promoting smoking restrictions at home.

One of the anonymous reviewers wrote, “The study was well-done, had positive results, and has important implication for child health, particularly in places where smoking rates are high. Use of hair nicotine in the context of an RCT is relatively new, and the authors should be commended for this. Nearly 90% of participants remained in the study to the end – an impressive accomplishment! Another interesting feature of this study is that it took place in a country, Armenia, which is characterized by very high male smoking rates and extremely low female smoking rates. Protecting young children from tobacco smoke exposure in cultures with high disparities in male/female rates of smoking poses a unique challenge, as those disparities may be correlated disparities in decision-making powers in the home.”

The full text article is available here.

The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve the health of the populace and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals and others to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.

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Drs. Francis Stillman, Arusyak Harutyunyan, and Narine Movsisyan

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