Toward a smoke-free Harlem: Engaging families, agencies, and community-based programs

Mary Northridge, Gwendolyn Scott, Rachel Swaner, Jennifer L. Northridge, Betina Jean-Louis, Sandra Klihr-Beall, Rubiahna L. Vaughn, Yvonne J. Pradier, Roger D. Vaughan, Roger Hayes, Ralph S. Caraballo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this collaborative public health study was to engage families, agencies, and programs in reducing secondhand smoke exposure in Central Harlem, New York City. Baseline interviews (n=657) and focus groups (n=4) were conducted with adult members of households with children who had asthma and asthma-like symptoms in the Harlem Children's Zone Asthma Initiative. The interviews concerned the prevalence and determinants of exposure of enrolled children to secondhand smoke. Key findings were that participants: (1) were generally aware of the hazards of secondhand smoke; (2) used strategies to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in their homes; (3) believed that outdoor pollutants are sometimes just as bad for the health of their children as secondhand smoke; and (4) used smoking to provide stress relief and help diffuse otherwise volatile situations in their homes. The Harlem Smoke-Free Home Campaign was launched in October 2007 based in part on these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • African American health
  • Asthma
  • Child health
  • Health disparities
  • Health policy
  • Respiratory health
  • Secondhand smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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