Can attending preschool reduce the risk of tobacco smoking in adulthood? The effects of Kindergarten Union participation in South Australia

D'Onise, K., Lynch, J.W., and McDermott, R.A. (2011) Can attending preschool reduce the risk of tobacco smoking in adulthood? The effects of Kindergarten Union participation in South Australia. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 65 (12). pp. 1111-1117.

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Background: Innovative strategies beyond the health system are required to reduce the prevalence of smoking. Early child development interventions are examples of interventions that can help set children on positive social and educational trajectories, which in turn may also reduce the prevalence of smoking. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of attendance at Kindergarten Union preschools on tobacco smoking in adulthood.

Methods: Kindergarten Union preschools delivered comprehensive services to children and their families, including education, parenting and health services, with a number of features consistent with contemporary ideas of high-quality service delivery. Using a retrospective cohort design with data from the North West Adelaide Health Study, this study examined different aspects of smoking behaviour in adults aged 34-67 years who attended a Kindergarten Union preschool at some stage between 1940 and 1972. Data were analysed using generalised linear model poisson regression with robust variance estimates, adjusting for both child and adult socio-economic factors and history of parental smoking.

Results: People who attended preschool had a reduced risk of ever smoking (prevalence ratio 0.87, 95% CI 0.77 to 0.98) and a reduced risk of current smoking in adulthood (prevalence ratio 0.77 (95% CI 0.59 to 1.00)), compared with those who did not attend preschool. There was no effect of preschool attendance on age at smoking uptake, age at quitting or the probability of quitting smoking.

Conclusion: Attendance at the high-quality Kindergarten Union preschools was associated with a reduction in the initial uptake of smoking and thus the probability of being a current smoker. Among their other potential social benefits, high-quality, universal preschool programmes have the potential to help reduce smoking prevalence across the population.

Item ID: 35791
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1470-2738
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), National Heart Foundation of Australia (NHF)
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2014 16:48
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111704 Community Child Health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 100%
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