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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Using 2-1-1 Helplines to Reduce Smoking in Low-Income Homes

2-1-1 helplines can be used to reduce smoking in low-income homes, but additional resources and staffing may be needed to sustain the efforts, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

[Photo:  Dr. Tess Thompson]

Low-income households are more likely to allow smoking in the home, increasing the exposure of children and others to secondhand smoke and its attendant health problems. Researchers used 2-1-1 helplines in five locations to offer an evidence-based Smoke-Free Homes (SFH) program to smokers who called 2-1-1 for help with basic needs such as food, utilities and housing.

2-1-1 staff screened callers for eligibility, mailed printed materials, conducted a telephone coaching call and completed a follow-up telephone survey of participants

Researchers surveyed the 2-1-1 staff who delivered the program and found that 70 percent thought it led to more smoke-free homes among callers. But staff said that although the program fit with their 2-1-1 mission, they expressed concerns about the time and resources that were needed.

“Future implementation of SFH and other tobacco control programs should address identified barriers by securing ongoing funding, providing dedicated staff time, and ensuring programs fit with staff workflow,” wrote the study’s lead author, Dr. Tess Thompson, research assistant professor at the Brown School.

The paper was published online October 10 in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

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