Most of us know that exposure to secondhand smoke can produce serious consequences for unborn children, including low birth weight, heart defects and learning disorders. But the potential ramifications of secondhand smoke certainly don’t stop at birth.
A new study found that kids exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Identifying the Link
Researchers analyzed 2,357 children who were all between the ages of 4 and 12, along with a bulk of supporting data provided by their parents. The data included important information about each child’s mental health and daily exposure to secondhand smoke.
Once all the data was examined, scientists found that children who were exposed to secondhand smoke for at least one hour per day were more than three times as likely to have ADHD, compared to peers without secondhand exposure.
Although researchers were quick to note that secondhand smoke exposure is not the root cause of mental disorders, they did conclude that children exposed to secondhand d tobacco smoke were more than three times as likely to suffer from some kind of mental disorder.
Dangers of Tobacco
There is ultimately no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that children can still suffer ear infections and respiratory issues including shortness of breath and frequent asthma attacks. There is also a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome with tobacco smoke exposure.
In October 2012, researchers at the University of California – San Francisco found that secondhand smoke kills 42,000 non-smokers in the U.S. each year, including 900 babies. Those who died lost an average of 14.2 years off their life, and the lost productivity cost the U.S. economy $6.6 billion. Even worse, all of these statistics are likely an underestimate due to inherent issues in using statistical estimates of populations.
Clearing the Smoke
If you’re ready to quit smoking, there are plenty of ways you can do it.
Although some try to quit cold turkey, most people have greater success by putting together a plan and sticking to it. This might include setting a quit date, telling family and friends of your plans and removing tobacco products from your home and car.
It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor about medications designed to ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with tobacco.
If you experience a slip while trying to quit, forgive yourself and keep moving forward. And remember, the benefits of living a smoke-free life don’t stop at you; your whole family reaps the rewards.
Additional Reading: California: 5 E-Cigarette Dangers We Can’t Ignore
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