Secondhand Smoke Can Affect Children’s Brains


Children and teenagers who inhale secondhand smoke face a greater risk of suffering from mental problems such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and major depressive disorder. This startling news was revealed recently in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Secondhand Smoke Problems
The problems caused by secondhand smoke are well known. Previous studies have revealed that secondhand smoke can cause such physical problems as middle ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome, asthma and respiratory issues. However, this latest study is different as it links secondhand smoke to the brain and mental health of American children and teens.

Startling Findings
Researchers studied the effects of secondhand smoke on 2,901 youngsters aged eight to 15. The kids were assessed for mental health problems. The revelations are startling. The respondents showed greater symptoms of major depressive disorder, ADHD, anxiety disorder and even one case of conduct disorder.

Pregnant Women Should Not Smoke
Boys were more likely to be affected by the dreaded effects of secondhand smoke, as were Whites when compared to Mexican Americans and Blacks. Smoking during pregnancy was found to increase the risk of ADHD in the offspring.

Ban Public Smoking
Based on the findings, the researchers recommend that smoking should be banned in public spots where kids and teens gather. Parents should also be educated to avoid smoking at home so that their kids are not exposed to the toxic impact of secondhand smoke.

Secondhand Smoke Raises Kids’ Blood Pressure
A previous study reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association had revealed that secondhand smoke raises blood pressure in kids of kindergarten age. Researchers tracked the health of more than 4,000 German children with an average age of 5.7 years. Data was gathered on their height, weight, blood pressure and their parents’ habits including smoking.

Beware of Hypertension
The researchers found that kids who had smoking parents suffered higher blood pressure than kids with non-smoking parents. This finding is alarming, as high blood pressure or hypertension is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. The researchers said the seeds of hypertension are probably sown early in life, as is the case with these kids.

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