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Published: 26 February 2013

Authors: Thomson, G.

George Thomson – Protecting Child Health From Smoking

George Thomson Department of Public Health, University of Otago
Protecting child health from smoking: Developing a smartphone application for research on observed smoking in vehicles.

This project will develop and trial a smartphone application to extend public health observation methods. In particular, the application will enable data collection by many roadside observers, at many observation sites, of smoking in cars. Cars provide a unique view on public smoking behaviour in confined spaces that can be seen by observers, with many being observable in a short time. Secondhand smoke (SHS) increases the risk for and exacerbates asthma. Reducing smoking in cars could reduce the asthma-attributable health burden, and help denormalise smoking. This study plans to improve the observations of SHS exposure in vehicles (observational data are more robust, as self-reported data have significant limitations).  The research will pilot, refine methods and advance research skills in the use of smartphones to collect public health data. Smartphone data recording and transmission can overcome research cost and administrative complexity issues. By increasing the ability to get data from many observers, at many sites, the resulting observations can massively strengthen the estimates of: (i) smoking in vehicles; 1 the SHS exposure borne by both children and adults in vehicles