Second-hand Smoke may Affect Kids’ Mental Health

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A new study has suggested that not only is breathing in second hand smoke bad for your physical well being, but your mental health also.  The study has forged a connection between taking in second hand smoke and the developments of behaviour disorders like ADHD.

Kids of mothers who failed to give up smoking during the pregnancy were also found to be more likely to suffer as a result according to the new study.

Behaviour Effect Unknown

Whilst it has been known for a long time that it was a cause of heart problems and breathing issues it was not known to have a direct effect of behaviour until now.

Dr. Bruce Lanphear, head of the Cincinnati Children’s Environmental Health Centre said, “It’s time for us to begin to prevent children’s exposure to (second-hand smoke) if we are serious about preventing these diseases,” He went on to state, “We have sufficient evidence to prevent many of these diseases, but we don’t.” This doctor was not involved in the study itself.

Nationally Representative Sample

Involved in the study however, was lead study author Frank Bandiera of the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. He studied, and determined the link by amassing a very large range of individuals for the study, managing to attain a nationally representative sample for this study of the link between the inhalation of second hand smoke and mental health.

The youths used in the study were close to 3000 people aged 8-15.

The level of cotinine in the body was measured. Cotinine is what forms as a by-product of nicotine breakdown. The level of the substance in each youth’s blood was measured to determine if the child had been exposed to second hand smoke.

In the instances where there were very high levels of the substance in the body, it was determined that the child themselves were smokers, as a result they were removed from the study to stay rigid in its attempting to deal exclusively with the second hand smoke issue.

From here interviews were conducted with all participants to determine if there was a manifestation of a mental or a behavioural disorder.

Male V’s Female

When factors such as age and race were taken into account it was found that males were more likely to suffer from ADHD if they had been exposed. They were also likely to show signs of anxiety, depression and control disorder than those who had not been exposed. On the female side it was found that they were only more likely to suffer from ADHD or anxiety.

Whilst a link has been proven, the number of children affected within the selected group was quit low, with only 7% of the children having enough of the symptoms pertaining to ADHD in order to be diagnosed with it. Of the kids only 15 had depression and just 9 showed signs of an anxiety disorder.

Research Difficulties

One acknowledgement made is that there is a difficulty in trying to separate damage done by second hand smoke, and damage done by smoking, whilst the child is in the womb. The authors have noted that there is more research necessitated to determine just how kids’ brains could be affected by second hand smoke.

Whilst they admit that the study does not prove beyond doubt that there is a direct relationship, it should still give a push to parents not to subject their children to second hand smoke. The research did however come online with the backing of further research that denotes how the exposure caused poor mental health in about 900 young people.

It would be a ‘surprise’ if there was no link between the two said one of the study authors. With the Attorney General predicting that up to 60% of children are exposed, the authors pushed that smoking needs to be banned in all public places.

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