STARSS (Start Thinking About Reducing Secondhand Smoke)
The STARSS program was developed specifically to meet the needs of CAPC (Community Action Programs for Children) projects, although the program has been implemented in many settings and services (such as Public Health Units and addiction treatment programs) where there are pregnant and parenting women smokers - especially those who don't want, or aren't ready, to quit smoking.
We developed the STARSS strategies so that they could be used in flexible and adaptable ways, depending on the capacity and comfort of the service provider and the setting. The strategies were also developed so that they could be easily incorporated into existing programming and would require minimal training for staff to implement.
This is NOT a quit smoking program (there are lots of those out there!), although it contains strategies to support moms who make this choice. STARSS is a supportive, sensitive strategy for mothers who smoke and are interested in learning ways to protect their children from the effects of secondhand smoke.
The program’s goal is to enable moms to protect their children as much as possible from secondhand smoke in the home without a focus on smoking cessation. During the development of STARSS, we learned the importance of the small steps approach to supporting women, especially low-income mothers, in their attempts to protect their children from the effects of secondhand smoke. More importantly, we rediscovered that the harm reduction approach encourages both cessation and quit attempts by providing a less threatening message regarding smoking. Service providers also are very comfortable delivering STARSS, as it provides them with a step-by-step approach they can tailor to the needs of their work sites; STARSS was found to increase the self-efficacy of both women participants and service providers.