Hospital entrance smoking is reduced by broadcasting recorded antitobacco messages from Australian primary school children over entrance public address system

Ashley Webb, Belinda Tascone, Lucy Wickham, Gemma Webb, Avisha Wijeyaratne, David Thomas Boyd, Samuel Leong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Issue addressed: Smoking near hospital entrances occurs frequently despite smoke-free policies, resulting in multiple issues including second-hand smoke exposure (SHS) to vulnerable populations. Primary school children were engaged through their health curriculum to produce antismoking audio recordings for broadcast over a hospital entrance loudspeaker system to determine if this reduced smoking. Method: Students produced original recordings against hospital grounds smoking during class workshops, from which a collection (n = 16) was selected. Episodes of entrance smoking and total entrance traffic were recorded using security camera infrastructure over a 5-week period. A computer-controlled entrance loudspeaker played a message which was followed by silence until a new (different) message was played. Intensity of messaging was moderate in week 3 (every 5 minutes), increasing to high in week 4 (3 minutely) and compared to no messages (weeks 1-2 preintervention) and week 5 (postintervention). Results: Smokers presented 316 times, smoking 523 cigarettes over 155 hours of observation (patients 70.6%, visitors 29.4%). SHS exposure was high given 172 others used the entrance/hour. Smoking was highest in the preintervention period (weeks 1-2), median five cigarettes/hr [IQR,3-7 (min = 0, max = 12)], falling to four cigarettes/hr during 5-minutely broadcasts [IQR,2-5 (min = 1, max = 14)] (P =.06), but zero cigarettes/hr during 3-minutely broadcasts [IQR,0-1(min = 0, max = 7)] (P <.0001). Postintervention (no broadcasts), smoking increased from zero to 1 cigarette/hr [IQR,0-3 (min = 0, max = 5)]; (P =.052). Nonsmoker movements did not change significantly between each period. Conclusion: Intensive (3 minutely) broadcasting of short antismoking messages significantly reduced hospital entrance smoking. So what?: Health services can positively interact with the health curriculum of primary schools against tobacco use while developing low-cost strategies to effectively deter entrance smoking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-357
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • health behaviour
  • hospitals
  • smoking prevention
  • tobacco smoke pollution

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