In spite of the number of smokers dropping, secondhand smoking affects half of U.S. teenagers and it’s still a major issues for children. The rate of tobacco users has been in decline, but there are other dangers caused by the 18% who still indulge frequently in cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study on 18,000 middle school and high school students, inquiring about smoking habits and rules within their environment. This included their in-home and vehicle rules that were likely placed by their family. According to their findings, 48% of the students were exposed to secondhand smoking, one way or another.
In fact, their exposure was 9 times higher than for participants who lived under 100% smoke-free rules. According to co-author of the study, Israel Agaku from the CDC, there is “no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure”. The more exposure, the graver the risks, which could result in long-term effects. This includes respiratory problems, disturbed lung function, ear diseases, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Co-author Brian King from the CDC’s Office on Smoking, stated that the difference sometimes bears down to individual families. For example, they found that 16% of the participants were exposed to secondhand smoke at home. Additionally, 15% were exposed to the damaging fumes in a vehicle, 17% at school, 27% at work, and 35% in public indoor or outdoor public areas.
While it’s certainly not new news, it’s a call for attention on a needed stricter restriction. The no-smoking policies that have been adapted in 26 states across the U.S. are aiding adults in escaping secondhand smoking. The health effects have been gladly received, as it seems the general population has been certainly benefiting from the restrictions.
Now, it’s time for that same effort to be directed toward children. The difficulty lies in their dependency on another’s habit, such as their family. If they smoke, it’s likely that their child will be exposed to a lot of it. It means that it’s up to each and every family to help cut the risk of various diseases from affecting their children.
According to King, this is a call for public attention. Continued research will better aid organization in pinning down when or where children are being exposed. However, there’s also a call for families to prevent the effects of secondhand smoking, as well as each state in particular.
The restrictions do work in improving the health of children by limiting their exposure. With time, the numbers could be driven lower, and, hopefully, lower the negative impact on the nation’s youth.
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