Help researchers get the attention of smoking dads

In a special contest that spans the week before and after Father's Day, the FACET: Families Controlling and Eliminating Tobacco research team at UBC is inviting moms and dads to go online and vote for messages designed to get the attention of new dads who smoke.

FACET is an ongoing research program committed to finding innovative ways to reduce tobacco use in young families and develop and distribute effective aids to assist moms and dads in their efforts to quit smoking. The program involves researchers from UBC in Vancouver and Kelowna, in collaboration with professionals in Vancouver Costal and Interior Health authorities.

"We have found that new fathers who spend time taking care of their infants end up smoking less and help to maintain a smoke-free home to protect their infants from second-hand smoke," says Joan Bottorff, co-principal investigator with FACET, and director of the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention at UBC Okanagan.

The team has also found that new fathers who smoke don’t want their children to smoke and worry that their children will take up smoking if they see them smoking.

"Men are newly motivated to reduce or quit smoking around the birth of a child, but until now there has been little focus on fathers’ smoking cessation efforts," says FACET co-principal investigator John Oliffe, associate professor at the UBC School of Nursing. "There are known benefits for the fetus/child and for the partner, including reducing second- and third-hand smoke and decreasing women’s chances of relapse postpartum."

So what kind of support do dads need who want to reduce or quit smoking? Researchers posed that question to new dads, their partners, and health providers and asked them to suggest messages that would encourage men to take the first step.

"The cessation support will be trialed later this year and we're interested in developing some captions to get the attention of new dads who smoke," says Oliffe.

All dads, moms, smokers and nonsmokers, are invited to vote for one of two messages --  “You were there at the beginning. Be there ‘til the end” or “My dad is my hero. He quit smoking for him and for me” -- or suggest a better message that would encourage fathers to reduce or quit smoking. Participants can enter their names for a chance to win a $50 Tim Horton’s Coffee Card.

To enter, go to www.facet.ubc.ca or call the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention in Kelowna at 250.807.8072 or FACET in Vancouver at 604.822.0328.

The contest ends on Friday, June 26, 2009. Winners will be notified by email and/or telephone.

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