Posts Tagged ‘ second-hand smoke ’

Could Your Bad Habit Increase Your Kid’s Risk for Heart Disease?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Secondhand SmokeAlthough the amount of Americans who are exposed to secondhand smoke has decreased, numerous harmful effects still remain, and regular exposure to secondhand smoke affects children well into adulthood. In fact, new research found that children whose parents smoked are nearly twice as likely to have plaque buildup in their arteries as adults, leaving them at a much greater risk for heart disease and strokes.

Researchers evaluated children’s exposure to their parents’ smoke for three years by analyzing how much cotinine was found in their blood. The individuals were then revisited over a period of six more years to determine the levels of plaque accumulation in their carotid arteries. The study, which was published in the journal Circulation, concluded that adults who had been exposed to smoke during their childhood from one or two parents were 1.7 times as likely to have plaque buildup than adults whose parents didn’t smoke.

There was even a noticeable difference in plaque levels between adults who were and weren’t shielded from smoke. According to Health Day, “the risk was 1.6 times higher for those whose parents smoked but tried to limit the exposure, and was four times higher for those whose parents did not try to limit exposure.”

Also, new evidence by Durham University found that children can be affected by smoke even in the womb. Ultrasound scans showed that the fetuses of moms who smoked had a much higher rate of mouth movements than what was normally expected.

As a parent, the only way to ensure that your children will not suffer from the dangers of secondhand smoke is to simply not smoke. For parents trying to quit, reduce a child’s exposure by keeping a distance while smoking, and never smoke inside your home and car, says Costan Magnussen, a senior research fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania in Australia.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

When to Worry: Asthma
When to Worry: Asthma
When to Worry: Asthma

Image: Man holding cigarette via Shutterstock

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Secondhand Smoke Decreasing, But Kids Are Still at Risk!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

NoSmokingThe amount of Americans who are exposed to secondhand smoke has decreased by nearly half in the past 12 years, reports the CDC.

The decline— from 53 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2012—is due to many cities and states banning cigarettes in public areas, which has also led smoking to become increasingly less socially accepted.

But secondhand smoke is not entirely a thing of the past—1 in 4 nonsmokers (or 58 million Americans) are still being exposed to these harmful chemicals.

And even more alarming is this statistic: 2 in 5 children, between the ages of 3 and 11, are still exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts also estimate that secondhand smoke has caused more than 400 infants to die from SIDS each year.

“Children are often exposed to smoke in their homes, and the report speculated that the sluggish decline in exposure of children might have to do with the fact that the fall in the adult smoking rate has slowed,”  reports The New York Times.

Infants and children are dependent on others to keep them out of harm’s way, so avoid smoking and exposing them to secondhand smoke at all costs—especially if they suffer from asthma—and everyone will be healthier as a result.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?

Image: NO Smoking via Shutterstock

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Secondhand Smoke, Miscarriages, Stillbirths Linked

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Pregnant women who are exposed to high levels of secondhand smoke face a higher risk of suffering a miscarriage, stillbirth, or fetal death–as high a risk, in fact, as if the women had smoked during pregnancy themselves.  More from Reuters on a new study published in the journal Tobacco Control:

“We often think of the diseases that secondhand smoke causes as diseases of older people,” epidemiologist Andrew Hyland told Reuters Health. “The results of this study show that secondhand smoke can affect even unborn babies.”

Hyland led the study at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. He and his colleagues found the pregnancy risks associated with women’s secondhand smoke exposure were almost as high as the risks related to their own cigarette smoking.

The study was the first to investigate the effects of secondhand smoke using quantified, lifetime exposure levels. The analysis arms clinicians like Dr. Maurice Druzin, from Stanford University Medical Center in California, with facts to try to persuade expectant fathers and others living with pregnant women to refrain from smoking at home.

“This is excellent ammunition for us to emphasize what we’ve known for a long time, but now we’ve got data to support it,” Druzin, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health.

“This is the first study that shows that secondhand smoke has the same effect as being a primary smoker,” he said. “That is a game changer.”

Hyland’s team used data from a study of 80,762 women between the ages of 50 and 79 years old. Researchers asked the women about their own smoking and the amount of secondhand smoke they were exposed to as children and adults, as well as about their history of pregnancy problems.

Among women who never smoked themselves, the chances of having a stillbirth were 22 percent higher for those who were exposed to any tobacco smoke than for unexposed women. That was after the researchers took into account other potential contributors, including women’s weight, education and alcohol drinking.

For women who were exposed to the highest lifelong levels of secondhand smoke, the risk of having a stillbirth was even greater – 55 percent higher than among unexposed women.

The researchers defined the highest level of exposure to secondhand smoke as at least 10 years of exposure during childhood, at least 20 years during adulthood and at least 10 years in the workplace.

At that level, a woman’s risk of a tubal ectopic pregnancy was 61 percent higher than among unexposed women, and her risk of a miscarriage was 17 percent higher.

“We’re not talking about an elevated risk of a rare event,” Hyland said of the miscarriage finding. “We’re talking about something that happens all the time.”

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Smoking and Breastfeeding
Smoking and Breastfeeding
Smoking and Breastfeeding

Image: Man smoking near pregnant woman, via Shutterstock

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Britain Will Ban Smoking in Cars That Carry Kids

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Citing research on the health risks children face due to consistent exposure to second-hand smoke, British politicians have approved legislation that would prohibit adults from smoking in cars where children travel.  More from Reuters:

The move comes after lobbying from health campaigners and the opposition Labour party, who cited research showing that smoking in cars exposed children to more concentrated smoke and caused health problems.

The government confirmed it would seek to implement a ban before an election in May next year, after lawmakers voted on Monday to give ministers the power to bring in the measure.

“The intention is for the secondary regulations to be in force ahead of May 2015,” Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokesman said on Tuesday. “There is a particular issue around vehicles being a particularly confined space and the associated public health concerns.”

The ban has been criticized by some parliamentarians and lobbyists as an intrusion on individual freedoms.

Last year, Massachusetts considered legislation to ban smoking in cars where children travel, and committees are still debating the measure.

Image: Adult smoking in a car, via Shutterstock

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Test Yields Better Info in Asthma-Smoking Connection

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Being around people who smoke is dangerous for children diagnosed with asthma, but many times parents are hesitant to reveal to doctors the extent of their kids’ exposure to cigarette smoke.  A new saliva-based test conducted on children admitted to the hospital for asthma-related issues confirms researchers’ suspicions–nearly 80 percent of the children’s saliva showed traces of cigarette smoke, but only a third of the parents had reported known cigarette exposure.  More from Reuters:

What’s more, finding evidence of nicotine, a chemical in tobacco, in children’s saliva was a better predictor of whether they would need to come back to the hospital, compared to the information parents gave to doctors.

“We think saliva is a good and potentially useful test for assessing an important trigger for asthma,” Dr. Robert Kahn, the study’s senior author, told Reuters Health.

Previous research has found that being exposed to tobacco can lead to airway problems and poor asthma control among children, Kahn and his colleagues write in the journal Pediatrics.

By figuring out which children are being exposed to tobacco, doctors may be able to step in and identify and possibly eliminate the exposure, said Kahn, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.

For example, if a parent is still smoking cigarettes and exposing the child to smoke, doctors can offer the parent smoking cessation tools while the child is hospitalized.

For the new study, the researchers assessed data from 619 children admitted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for asthma or other breathing problems between August 2010 and October 2011. The children were between one and 16 years old.

Image: Asthmatic child, via Shutterstock

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