INTRODUCTION: Tobacco smoke exposure (TSE) has considerable adverse respiratory health impact among children. Smoke-free policies covering enclosed public places are known to reduce child TSE and benefit child health. An increasing number of jurisdictions are now expanding smoke-free policies to also cover outdoor areas and/or (semi)private spaces (indoor and/or outdoor). We aim to systematically review the evidence on the impact of these 'novel smoke-free policies' on children's TSE and respiratory health.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: 13 electronic databases will be searched by two independent reviewers for eligible studies. We will consult experts from the field and hand-search references and citations to identify additional published and unpublished studies. Study designs recommended by the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) group are eligible, without restrictions on the observational period, publication date or language. Our primary outcomes are: self-reported or parental-reported TSE in places covered by the policy; unplanned hospital attendance for wheezing/asthma and unplanned hospital attendance for respiratory infections. We will assess risk of bias of individual studies following the EPOC or Risk Of Bias In Non-randomised Studies of Interventions tool, as appropriate. We will conduct separate random effects meta-analyses for smoke-free policies covering (1) indoor private places, (2) indoor semiprivate places, (3) outdoor (semi)private places and (4) outdoor public places. We will assess whether the policies were associated with changes in TSE in other locations (eg, displacement). Subgroup analyses will be conducted based on country income classification (ie, high, middle or low income) and by socioeconomic status. Sensitivity analyses will be undertaken via broadening our study design eligibility criteria (ie, including non-EPOC designs) or via excluding studies with a high risk of bias. This review will inform policymakers regarding the implementation of extended smoke-free policies to safeguard children's health.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not required. Findings will be disseminated to academics and the general public.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020190563.