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Reducing Home Exposure to Radon and Secondhand Smoke

Lung cancer is preventable through eliminating tobacco smoke and radon exposure. We examined the association between demographic factors and home testing at baseline of a larger RCT to test the effects of a tailored environmental feedback intervention to reduce home exposure to radon and secondhand smoke (SHS) with homeowners and renters.

A purposive sample of homeowners (n=340) and renters (n=47) were recruited at an outpatient medical facility using stratified sampling to ensure equal proportion of those exposed to SHS in the home. Homeowners were randomly assigned to treatment or control groups. Demographics, perceived risk of lung cancer, smoking status, past 7-day SHS exposure in the home, and lung cancer worry were assessed at baseline. Free test kits for radon and SHS were provided to treatment group participants and renters at enrollment; they received $20 to test their homes. Controls could call to request free test kits.

Participants with higher education were more likely to test; likelihood to test did not vary by smoking status. Renters and treatment group homeowners were more likely to test compared to controls. Compared to homeowners, renters were younger, less likely to be White, had less education, and higher air nicotine levels.

Renters (and landlords) are disproportionately affected by SHS in the home and are an important target for environmental justice and risk reduction measures. The ambulatory healthcare setting may be a promising location for environmental health risk reduction activities, especially with those at high risk (e.g., SHS in the home).

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Learning Objectives:
Identify characteristics of participants who were more likely to test their homes for radon and secondhand smoke as a lung cancer prevention measure. Differentiate between renters and homeowners in terms of environmental justice and risk reduction related to secondhand smoke and radon exposure.

View the 2015 Online Program for APHA, for more information.