Posts Tagged ‘ smoking ’

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 Parents.com 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 Parents.com 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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Pregnant? Here’s One More Reason To Quit Smoking

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Smoking During Pregnancy Affects Babies' Hormones and DNA Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to everything from miscarriages to low birth weight to a higher likelihood that your child will grow up with behavioral problems and respiratory infections.

Now, researchers from The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I. have found yet another reason for expectant mothers (and their partners) to quit. According to a study recently published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, smoking during a pregnancy can lower stress response, cause DNA alterations for a gene that controls the passage of stress hormones from mother to baby, and decrease levels of stress hormones.

That’s not a good thing. Lower stress hormones don’t equal lower stress— in fact, it’s the opposite.

“Our results suggest that these newborns may not be mounting adequate hormonal response to daily stressors. Their stress systems may not be prepared for the stressors of daily life,” lead researcher Laura Stroud, Ph.D., of the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital, said in a news release. “This may be particularly detrimental in babies born to mothers who lack resources and parenting skills and whose babies may encounter more daily stressors.”

The small study evaluated 100 newborn-mother pairs and tracked moms through their pregnancy and up through the first month of their child’s life. The researchers tested infant cortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels and found that changes in the gene that passed cortisol from mother to child were negatively affected due to smoking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in every 10 mothers in the U.S. smokes during the last three months of her pregnancy. If you need help kicking the habit, follow our tips to quit here.

Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster

Photo of pregnant woman with cigarette courtesy of Shutterstock.

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CDC: Teen Smoking, Sex Down, Texting Biggest New Danger

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Fewer American teenagers are having sex or smoking cigarettes, according to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but public messaging efforts on the dangers of texting while driving and healthy eating remain largely ineffective in curbing dangerous behaviors.  More from NBC News:

The latest federal look at teenage behavior is reassuring and suggests that some safety messages are getting through to American youth.

On the downside, kids are fatter than ever before and just a third are eating anywhere near as many fruits and vegetables as they need to stay healthy. And less than a third are getting enough sleep.

And a very troubling new statistic shows that more than 40 percent of teenagers who drive cars admit to having texted or emailed while driving recently.

But on the whole, it’s a snapshot of progress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which organizes the every-other-year survey, was especially pleased about the drop in smoking.

“I think it’s really encouraging that we’re seeing the lowest cigarette smoking rate ever,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden told NBC News.

“We’ve actually reached the goal that the nation set for ourselves for 2020 early. So that’s one of the most positive trends that we see here — down to 15.7 percent — less than one out of six kids in our high schools is smoking. That’s great news.”

Image: Texting while driving, via Shutterstock

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Smoking While Pregnant Can Diminish Impulse Control

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Women who smoke during pregnancy may be putting their babies at greater risk of ADHD and other disorders in which impulse control is compromised.  A new study may have identified the specific brain changes that are behind this risk.  More from Reuters:

People whose mothers smoked during pregnancy had weaker responses in the regions of their brains known to be involved in inhibition control, compared to those whose mothers didn’t smoke, researchers found.

Inhibition control relates to how people keep their impulses in check and resist distractions in certain situations.

“What’s quite surprising is to find such a reliable effect of prenatal smoke exposure that occurred 25 years before,” Nathalie Holz said.

Holz is the study’s lead author from Mannheim/Heidelberg University in Germany.

She and her colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry that about 22 percent of European women smoke and about half of them continue to smoke during pregnancy.

Smoking while pregnant has been tied to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, among kids. Children with the condition usually have trouble concentrating and controlling their impulses.

“Now we were interested in what the specific mechanisms are behind this association,” Holz said.

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Smoking and Breastfeeding
Smoking and Breastfeeding
Smoking and Breastfeeding

Image: Pregnant woman smoking, via Shutterstock

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