Mental Health

Secondhand Smoke Causes Mental Health Problems in Kids?

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According to a new study, secondhand smoke could potentially increase the risk of mental and behavioral disorders in kids.

This study, while focusing more on the problems caused by secondhand smoke than anything else, simply builds on the existing theories which center around the possible ramifications of parents smoking.

It has been noted for a number of years that children of mothers who smoke while pregnant are more likely to experience both physical and mental problems. Now, as per the results of this latest study, it appears that even if parents wait to smoke until after their child is born, they still risk doing serious damage to their child’s health.

"It's time for us to begin to prevent children's exposure to (secondhand smoke) if we are serious about preventing these diseases," Dr. Bruce Lanphear, who heads the Cincinnati Children's Environmental Health Center, told Reuters Health.

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This study was led by Frank Bandiera from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He and his fellow researchers made it a point to study the link between secondhand smoke and the mental health of a sample of 3,000 children ages 8 to 15. To do this, they measured the levels of cotinine in each child’s blood to determine who had, and who hadn’t been exposed to secondhand smoke.

After determining the levels of cotine in the children involved, researchers interviewed all of the kids to see which ones showed signs of any mental or behavioral disorders. Based on their findings, researchers concluded that boys who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to show symptoms of ADHD, depression, anxiety and disorderly conduct. Further, girls who were exposed to secondhand smoke showed more symptoms of ADHD and anxiety.

Based on recent figures released by the U.S. Surgeon General, estimates show that nearly 60 percent of children are exposed to secondhand smoke.