Secondhand tobacco smoke harms children in many ways and we don’t know how best to help smoking families to change their behaviour to protect them. A child living with smokers being brought to hospital may provide a good opportunity to support families to change their home smoking behaviours.

In England, 39% of children who live with smokers are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) at home. Exposure is causally linked with morbidly and mortality resulting in additional hospital admissions and cost burden to the NHS. At present, there is limited conclusive evidence of effective interventions to reduce children’s SHS exposure and no consensus about the initiation and delivery of SHS interventions via a child’s contact with a hospital.  This contact is a ‘teachable’ moment to help families to change their smoking behaviours.

The aim of this PhD research is to develop an intervention suitable for use in relation to a child’s hospital attendance to support families to change their smoking behaviours to reduce children’s SHS exposure. The research consists of four overlapping work-packages:

  1. Mixed-methods systematic literature review, meta-analysis and narrative synthesis of hospital based SHS interventions
  2. Qualitative research with key stakeholders to understand the acceptability and appropriateness of intervention/s
  3. Further development and description of the intervention/s
  4. Feasibility study of the intervention/s to support further evaluation through a randomised controlled trial. Effectively intervening with smoking families and thus preventing children’s exposure to SHS has the potential to improve children’s health 

Current projects

  • Mixed-methods systematic review and synthesis
  • Precedent Study - Qualitative

Meet the team

Research Group Lead:



  • Erica Ferris


+44(0)7572 113958