Grow Smokefree Children

Public Support
Second-hand smoke
Smokefree cars
Smokefree environments
Anne Trappitt
03 366 2112

Goals and objectives

This project aimed to encourage families and whānau to create smokefree environments by supporting them to have smokefree homes and cars and to help at least 30 parents and whānau to stop smoking.
Twenty low decile early childhood education services, currently enrolled in the Healthy Heart Award, received an email inquiring if smoking was prevalent among their families. To ensure that the project reached those most in need, those centres which had some Māori and Pacific families and could identify that they have a large number of children exposed to tobacco smoke were offered the opportunity to participate in the project. Our aim was to recruit approximately ten centres to be part of this project in the Canterbury region.

The goal was to reduce smoking rates, smoking in homes and in cars in high needs populations which would help to reduce inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of the children.

Target audience

The target audience was the family’s low equity, high needs Early Childhood Centres. Parents who were smoking and had young children at low decile Early Childhood Centres in Christchurch.

Project fit with 2025 aims

That our children and grandchildren will be free from tobacco and enjoy tobacco free lives.
That no one with smoke (less than 5% of the population will be current smokers)

This project aimed to get young parents to stop smoking and make their cars and homes smokefree.

What happened

We approached eight centres in December and January to participate in the project. Five centres agreed.
22 Participants registered for the programme by mid-Feb (see sample registration form).

The Heart Health Advocate met with all participants for an initial meeting to assist in the goal setting (see goal setting form) and then regular meetings were held every week. HPA resources were given to the participants. The content for all group discussions was taken from the “Time to Quit” and “The Quit Book” signed off by Mark Wallace Bell.

During the programme, parents met at two centres for weekly meetings. One group met on a Tuesday morning at Aratupu preschool on Harewood Rd and the second group met on a Wednesday night at E-Tipu preschool on Breezes Road.

Food parcels and food vouchers were given out as incentives to become smokefree and to attend the sessions. The Heart Health Advocate sent texts or rang all participants regularly to give support and encourage attendance.

Two Heart Foundation Health Promotion Coordinators did mat time with 15- 25 children in each of 5 centres who became involved in the programme:

  • Aratupu Preschool on Harewood Rd
  • Donald Duck Preschool in Addington
  • E Tipu Preschool on Breezes Rd
  • Barnardos Te Puna on Briggs Rd
  • Kindercare Ferry Rd.

Smokefree signs for the centres were provided along with colouring-in activities around the importance of smokefree houses and cars, felts, crayons, stickers, three packets of vegetable seeds and balloons. Heart healthy messages were promoted including the importance of being smoke free and Heart Foundation healthy eating posters were provided.

In our home and in our whare posters were delivered to the centres.


  • Early Childhood Centre staff
  • Dr Mark Wallace-Bell Ph D RN, Lecturer, Heart Foundation Stop Smoking Support Specialist.

Key outcomes

Of the 22 people who registered for the programme, 12 attended sessions regularly.

Of these 12:

  • 33 % (4 attendees) set a quit date and made a quit attempt
  • 33% (4 attendees ) stopped smoking
  • 100%reduced their smoking
  • 100% have  smokefree homes from 66 % initially
  • 100% smokefree cars  from 58% initially
  • a direct positive impact on at least 30 children who are now subjected to considerably less second hand smoke as most of the participants had 3 or more children
  • cigarettes smoked by 12 participants at the beginning of programme: 197/week and at the end of programme: 88 /week (55% reduction.)

Aratupu Preschool & Nursery
This group consisted of a group of nine parents. They are a high needs group with a variety issues such as custody problems, methadone programmes and housing difficulties.

Two of the group are on home detention and one of these is pregnant. They have a range of individual reasons for wanting to quit or cut down on their smoking but mostly because of the cost of smoking, health issues and the effect on their children.

All of the group are mothers, most of them under 30 and the majority with 3 or more children. Despite the many issues that the group are dealing with individually, there was good attendance at the group sessions and the food vouchers and food packs were appreciated and seemed to be a successful incentive for attendance.

E Tipu e Rea Early Learning Centre
This group started off with 5 people, 3 teachers from the E-Tipu preschool and 2 other parents but only 3 ended up completing the sessions. One of the group moved to Australia about half way through the programme but had set a quit date and was committed to being smokefree and another took a second job and couldn’t make the meetings but has started on Champix and seems to be making good progress.

Outcomes for the preschool sessions
The children and teachers at the centres both loved the colouring activities. They have used them as in-session activities with the children to further enhance the messages.
All centres feedback was that it was a great activity which the children enjoyed .They provided good messages to send home to the parents too.

Key learnings

The regular face to face meetings and support from the group worked well to keep the smoke free goal in mind for participants.

Feedback from participants at the end of the sessions was very positive, some examples were:

  • “The ongoing support and regular checks help so much”
  • “Helped me get into a better head space, more motivated to quit”
  • “Good encouragement to make a healthy change”
  • “It helped a great deal as I have tried this before and have never gone this far”.

What could be done differently?

There could be more involvement from the ECEs in recruiting and encouraging parents to join the programme.

Additional information

We did have difficulties in recruiting participants and many of those who did participate had ongoing issues such as parole, methadone addiction, housing and custody problems. This made setting and sticking to a smokefree goal challenging but all had good intentions and the desire to quit.

Project Material: 
Snapshot - ECE Promo Poster.pdf (pdf, 302.29 KB) Snapshot - GSC Registration Form.docx (docx, 66.2 KB) Snapshot - GSC Goals_Final.docx (docx, 62.58 KB)
Page last updated: 23 Mar 2016