Just one hour a week of ex­po­sure to sec­ond­hand smoke can af­fect teens

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

NEW RE­SEARCH has found that as lit­tle as one hour of ex­po­sure to to­bacco smoke per week can sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact teenagers’ health, caus­ing a va­ri­ety of res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems as well as in­creas­ing their odds of miss­ing school due to ill­ness and need­ing more hos­pi­tal vis­its. Car­ried out by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Cincin­nati, the study looked at data gath­ered from 7,389 non-smok­ing teens with­out asthma over the age of 12.

Af­ter re­port­ing on their to­bacco use and ex­po­sure and re­lated health is­sues, the re­searchers found that teens who re­ported be­ing ex­posed to just one hour of sec­ond-hand smoke per week were 1.5 times more likely to find it harder to ex­er­cise, two times more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence wheez­ing dur­ing or af­ter ex­er­cise, two times more likely to have a dry cough at night, and 1.5 times more likely to miss school due to ill­ness, when com­pared with teens who were not ex­posed.

Ado­les­cents ex­posed to sec­ond-hand smoke were also less likely to re­port very good or ex­cel­lent over­all health and phys­i­cal health, and more likely to seek treat­ment at an ur­gent care or hos­pi­tal emer­gency depart­ment. Those who lived with a smoker and were ex­posed to smoke at home also more likely to re­port wheez­ing or whistling in the chest, and wheez­ing that dis­turbed sleep.

“There is no safe level of sec­ond-hand smoke ex­po­sure,” said lead au­thor Ash­ley Me­ri­anos. “Even a small amount of ex­po­sure can lead to more emer­gency depart­ment vis­its and health prob­lems for teens. That in­cludes not just res­pi­ra­tory symp­toms, but lower over­all health.” Me­ri­anos con­cluded that more needs to be done to re­duce teenagers’ ex­po­sure to sec­ond-hand smoke, adding that health­care prac­ti­tion­ers and par­ents can all play a role.

“Health­care providers or other health pro­fes­sion­als can of­fer counselling to par­ents and other fam­ily mem­bers who smoke to help them quit smok­ing, and par­ents should be coun­selled on how to pre­vent and re­duce their ado­les­cent’s sec­ond-hand smoke ex­po­sure,” she noted. “Also, health pro­fes­sion­als should ed­u­cate teens on the dan­gers as­so­ci­ated with to­bacco use to pre­vent ini­ti­a­tion.”

Pre­vi­ous re­search has also high­lighted the dan­gers of ex­po­sure to sec­ond-hand smoke, with a 2016 study find­ing that chil­dren ex­posed to sec­ond-hand smoke are more likely to show in­creased lev­els of body fat, and de­creased lev­els of cog­ni­tive abil­ity, which could mean poorer school grades.

US re­search also pub­lished this month found that ex- pos­ing chil­dren to sec­ond-hand smoke can in­crease their risk of death from chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease (COPD) death in adult­hood, with adults ex­posed to sec­ond-hand smoke also show­ing a higher risk of death from sev­eral other con­di­tions. The find­ings can be found pub­lished on­line in the jour­nal Pe­di­atrics. – Re­laxnews

*All ma­te­ri­als are only for your in­for­ma­tion, and should not be con­strued as med­i­cal ad­vice. Where nec­es­sary, ap­pro­pri­ate pro­fes­sion­als should be con­sulted

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