Passive smoking leads children to miss more in school
Children living in homes where they are exposed to smoke lose more days of school than those who do not live with tobacco, a study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reports. The researchers found that exposed children have higher rates of respiratory illnesses that may be caused by secondhand smoke, and this makes them miss more in school - cigarette exposure can be responsible for a quarter to a third of school absences between these children. The results were published in the online edition of the journal Pediatrics.
In the study, adults responsible for 3,087 school-age children - ages 6 to 11 - answered a questionnaire about the general health of the children. The questions were: how many people smoke indoors, how many days of school the child lost due to illness or injury during the previous year if the child had three or more ear infections during the previous year if the child had a cold or illness gastrointestinal symptoms in the two weeks prior to the study, and finally, if the child was diagnosed with asthma and, if so, if she had a recent asthma attack.
Of the children surveyed, more than 14% lived in nursing homes where at least one person smokes at home - of those, 8% lived with one person who smokes and 6% with two or more. Analyzing the data, it was noticed that children with a smoker had a mean of 1.06 more absences in school, while those with two or more, 1.54 more absences than those who did not live with smokers at home.
Diseases associated with tobacco exposure - including ear infections and colds - accounted for 24% of the causes of absences among children living with a cigarette user, and 34% of those with two or more users. The presence of smokers at home did not increase the incidence of gastrointestinal diseases, nor was there any association with the diagnosis of asthma, nor with the attacks. For researchers, this is due to the fact that the study may have included a very low number of children with asthma, as previous studies have indicated that exposure to smoking is a trigger for the disease.
Cigarette also leads to learning problems in children
Another study, also published in the journal Pediatrics , showed that children who smoke passively in their homes are more likely to develop behavioral and learning problems than those who are smoke-free of the cigarette. The analysis was funded by the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute in the United States.
The survey used data from more than 55,000 children up to 12 years of age who were part of the 2007 National Child Health Survey. of 6% were exposed to secondhand smoke in the home. Parents who had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and who were receiving treatment for this problem were identified by talking to their parents. Information on less acute problems of behavior and school development was also collected.
The results showed that children who smoked passively in the home were 50% more likely to develop behavioral and learning problems. In addition, most of them had more than one problem linked to these two strands.
According to the researchers, it has also been proven that passively smoking increases the chances of having respiratory and ear problems. Even so, many parents are still unaware of the benefits they can bring to their family by smoking just outside their home.
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