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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Evaluating an online training module on protecting children from secondhand smoke exposure: impact on knowledge, confidence and self-reported practice of health and social care professionals

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Laura L. Jones, Andy McEwen
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

Andy McEwen receives a personal income from Cancer Research UK via University College London. He has received travel funding, honorariums and consultancy payments from manufacturers of smoking cessation products (Pfizer Ltd, Novartis UK and GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd). He also receives payment for providing training to smoking cessation specialists; receives royalties from books on smoking cessation and has a share in a patent of a nicotine delivery device.

Authors’ contributions

AMc obtained the funding. LLJ and AMc participated in the original conception and design of the study. LLJ conducted the analysis. LLJ and AMc were both involved in the interpretation of the data. LLJ drafted the initial manuscript with AMc providing critical review. Both authors approved the submitted version of the paper.



Healthcare professionals report that a lack of training is the primary barrier to raising the issue of secondhand smoke (SHS). An open access online training module was therefore developed for those working with smoking families to deliver effective very brief advice on SHS. The current study aimed to evaluate the following: (1) does knowledge increase as a result of participating in the online training module, and (2) does the module impact on participant confidence and self-reported practice relating to SHS.


Those accessing the module were invited to participate in an evaluation to assess participants’ knowledge about, and confidence in, delivering very brief advice on SHS. Change in knowledge was assessed via ten multiple choice questions and confidence was assessed by Likert scale responses to three statements. Data were collected across three time points: pre-training, post-training and after 3 months. Data were also collected at 3 months post module completion on self-reported changes in practice and key learning points.


Data at all three time points were available for 178 participants (~1 % of those who visited the module homepage over a 2 year period). Knowledge and confidence to deliver effective very brief advice for SHS significantly increased between the pre- and post-training assessments and was maintained at 3 months. Eighty-four percent self-reported that they perceived taking part in the training had led to positive changes in their clinical practice.


There is potential for this module to be embedded within training programmes across health and social care professions, which may help to increase the knowledge and confidence of health and social care professionals to deliver very brief advice for SHS to smoking families. Future research needs to explore whether the smoking families who receive very brief advice for SHS are motivated to make changes to their home smoking behaviours and whether roll-out of this intervention would be cost-effective.
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