• Study: 1 in 5 Teens Exposed to Secondhand Smoke in Cars

    While the number of teens exposed to secondhand smoke has declined, experts urge for the further reduction of risks associated with smoking.
  • woman smoking in carThe detrimental effects of smoking to our health have long been a widely disclosed fact, backed up by countless studies. Cigarette smoking has been found to reduce fertility in both men and women, cause sudden infant death syndrome among the children of women who smoke while pregnant, as well as increase the risk for heart defects in babies.

    It was only last October 2011 when the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) put up designated smoking areas in order to help manage the waste caused by cigarette butts.

    But more than the ill effects of smoking to adults, a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics warns parents about the harm that secondhand smoke brings to teens. 

    High school and middle school students were asked about how often in a week they would ride in cars while someone was smoking. On average, the respondents said once or twice a week. The survey failed to ask in particular though if it was their parents or other kids who were smoking.

    While the number of smoking and nonsmoking teens exposed to secondhand smoke has declined since 2009 (from 40 percent to 22 percent), researchers are still concerned about the risks involved.

    Said Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lead author Brian King, “The car is the only source of exposure for some of these children, so if you can reduce that exposure, it's definitely advantageous for [their] health.”

    With this, experts advise parents to avoid smoking at home or inside the car. They also communicate that opening a car window does not necessarily lessen the risks associated with smoking.

    Researchers are also urging for the enforcement of anti-smoking laws to ban smoking in cars with kids or to have designated smoking areas. The researchers also expressed that because the implementation of 100% smoke-free policies is the only effective way to fully eliminate [secondhand smoke], states and communities should expand comprehensive smoke-free policies that prohibit smoking in worksites and public places to also prohibit smoking in motor vehicles occupied by youth.”

    Sources:

    February 6, 2012. Lindsey Tanner. “Too Many Kids Are Breathing Secondhand Smoke in Cars” healthland.time.com

    February 6, 2012. “Teens Exposed To Less Secondhand Smoke In Cars Today, But It’s Still A Problem, Study Finds” aap.org 

    February 6, 2012. Denise Reynolds RD. “One in Five Kids Exposed to Secondhand Smoke In Cars” emaxhealth.com 


    Photo by Briss Milan via flickr creative commons 

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