Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Women who smoke while they are pregnant may be putting their babies’ hearing at risk, among other health concerns associated with smoking, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology. More from USA Today:
Previously, prenatal smoking has been linked to negative consequences in children of all ages, including premature birth, low weight or underdevelopment and asthma. Now, a connection also has been made between smoking while pregnant and hearing loss in adolescents, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology.
“Cigarette smoking is probably the worst man-made epidemic,” says Michael Weitzman, study author and a professor at the New York University School of Medicine.
In a group of 964 kids ranging in age from 12 to 15 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005-2006, about 16% of parents confirmed prenatal smoke exposure. In most cases, kids with exposure were roughly three times more likely to have mild hearing loss. Kids without exposure also were found to hear better by three decibels in comparison with those who were exposed.
Image: Pregnant woman with cigarette, via Shutterstock
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Friday, December 14th, 2012
Teenaged girls who smoke cigarettes have been found to develop bone mineral density more slowly than non-smoking girls, putting them at higher risk for disease like osteoporosis and other musculo-skeletal issues. The study is limited because the sample had a lower calcium intake than the national average. Regardless, The New York Times reports that the findings should give pediatricians another issue to raise with teen patients who smoke:
“The scientists studied 262 healthy girls ages 11 to 19, using questionnaires and interviews to assess their smoking habits. The researchers also measured the girls’ bone density at the hip and lumbar spine three times at one-year intervals.
Smokers entered adolescence with the same lumbar and hip bone density as nonsmokers, but by age 19, they were about a year behind on average. After adjusting for other factors that affect bone health — height, weight, hormonal contraceptive use and more — the researchers found that even relatively low or irregular rates of smoking were independently associated with lower bone density.”
Image: Teen girl smoking, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Tweens and teenagers are so vulnerable to messages they receive in movies that any film that depicts a character smoking should automatically earn an “R” rating, a new study suggests. CNN.com has more:
PG-13 films account for nearly two-thirds of the smoking scenes adolescents see on the big screen, according to the two-year study, which surveyed roughly 5,000 children ages 10 to 14 about the movies they’d seen and whether they’d ever tried a cigarette.
Smoking in PG-13 films — including background shots and other passing instances — was just as strongly linked with real-world experimentation as the smoking in R-rated films. For every 500 smoking scenes a child saw in PG-13 movies, his or her likelihood of trying cigarettes increased by 49%. The comparable figure for R-rated movies was 33%, a statistically negligible difference.
Assigning an R rating to all movies portraying smoking would lower the proportion of kids who try cigarettes at this age by 18%, the authors estimate. (Children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult to buy a ticket for an R-rated movie.)
“The movie industry [should] treat smoking like it treats profanity and sex and violence,” says lead author Dr. James D. Sargent, a cancer-prevention specialist and professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School, in Lebanon, New Hampshire. “If saying the ‘F’ word twice gets you an R rating, certainly something as important as smoking should get you an R rating.”
Image: Teenagers at the movies, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, June 8th, 2012
A new survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that more American teenagers smoke marijuana than cigarettes.
Twenty-three percent of the high school students who were surveyed about a number of risky behaviors said they recently smoked marijuana, while 18 percent said they had smoked nicotine cigarettes. According to MSNBC.com, some experts attribute the difference to the perception that marijuana is less dangerous than niccotine.
Image: Smoke, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, March 9th, 2012
One in five high school students smokes, and 9 out of 10 current smokers started the habit before age 18, a new report from the U.S. surgeon general’s office has found. The report has led Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin to declare that youth smoking has reached epidemic proportions.
The report criticizes the tobacco industry for spending an estimated $27 million each day marketing to teens, and calls for greater measures to prevent teens from starting a dangerous habit that will likely last their whole lives.
MSNBC.com has more:
“Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke. We don’t want our children to start something now that they won’t be able to change later in life,” Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin said in the report, which details the scope, health consequences and influences that lead to youth tobacco use.
An estimated 3,800 kids pick up their first cigarette every day and 9 in 10 current smokers started before the age of 18. Some 99 percent of all first-time tobacco use happens by the age of 26, exposing young people to the long-term health effects of smoking, such as lung cancer and heart disease.
Smoking kills more than 1,200 people every day, and every tobacco-related death is replaced by two new smokers under the age of 25, the report said.
Image: Smoking cigarette, via Shutterstock.
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