Open Access Research article

"Smoking in Children's Environment Test": a qualitative study of experiences of a new instrument applied in preventive work in child health care

Noomi Carlsson12*, Siw Alehagen3, Boel Andersson Gäre145 and AnnaKarin Johansson3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Paediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden

2 Department of Public Health and Medical Care, Jönköping County Council, Box 1024, SE-551 11 Jönköping, Sweden

3 Department of Medicine and Health, Division of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden

4 Futurum - the Academy for Healthcare, Jönköping County Council, SE-551 85 Jönköping, Sweden

5 The Jönköping Academy for Improvement of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, Box 1026, SE-551 11 Jönköping, Sweden

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BMC Pediatrics 2011, 11:113  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-113

Published: 15 December 2011



Despite knowledge of the adverse health effects of passive smoking, children are still being exposed. Children's nurses play an important role in tobacco preventive work through dialogue with parents aimed at identifying how children can be protected from environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure. The study describes the experiences of Child Health Care (CHC) nurses when using the validated instrument SiCET (Smoking in Children's Environment Test) in dialogue with parents.


In an intervention in CHC centres in south-eastern Sweden nurses were invited to use the SiCET. Eighteen nurses participated in focus group interviews. Transcripts were reviewed and their contents were coded into categories by three investigators using the method described for focus groups interviews.


The SiCET was used in dialogue with parents in tobacco preventive work and resulted in focused discussions on smoking and support for behavioural changes among parents. The instrument had both strengths and limitations. The nurses experienced that the SiCET facilitated dialogue with parents and gave a comprehensive view of the child's ETS exposure. This gave nurses the possibility of taking on a supportive role by offering parents long-term help in protecting their child from ETS exposure and in considering smoking cessation.


Our findings indicate that the SiCET supports nurses in their dialogue with parents on children's ETS exposure at CHC. There is a need for more clinical use and evaluation of the SiCET to determine its usefulness in clinical practice under varying circumstances.