Health inequalities and children’s exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke: assessing the social determinants of infant and young child exposure in a Romanian sample


Children’s exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) is an important contributor to increasing health inequalities worldwide. Despite the extensive research being conducted on smoking behaviour, there still is a limited understanding of how these inequalities emerge and widen. Consequently, the proposed research tries to understand the SHS exposure of children aged 3 or younger, in a sample of Romanian families. Romania has a decreasing smoking prevalence in the general population, but the emerging social patterning of this behaviour has not been yet documented. Thus, the study aims to define and understand the inter-relation of structure and agency in children’s exposure (in the context of social, economic and health-related cultural capitals’ interplays) and to assess how life course deprivation and events impact the structure-agency relation within this population. It employs a mixed-methods research strategy, with a sequential implementation of a qualitative followed by a quantitative component. Data is collected through semi-structured, qualitative interviews, as well as through questionnaires (n=251), from a sample of women (mothers of children aged 0-36 months). The study population is recruited from 8 purposively selected medical general practice offices, from rural and urban settings, within a Romanian county.

Specific objectives:

  • To assess the prevalence of young children’s SHS exposure, through interviews with mothers of children 0-36 months old;
  • To identify and describe the main determinants (structural and behavioural) of children’s SHS exposure;
  • To map social, economic and cultural capitals and their direct relation with children’s SHS exposure;
  • To explore the relation between capital interplays (transfer, accumulation, conversion) and children’s exposure to SHS.

Starting / Ending Date

2013 – 2014

Project Coordinator

Center for Health Policy and Public Health at Babeș-Bolyai University – Romania


Funder: Babeș-Bolyai University – internal grant
BBU Amount: 4.500 EUR

Staff from Department of Public Health