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Pulmonology Study: Many California Children Exposed to Passive Smoke

Posted by floriza in Pulmonology

A pulmonology study conducted at the Public Health Institute and the University of California Center for Health Policy Research in Los Angeles has found that over 2.5 million children are exposed to secondhand/passive smoke in the state.

The researchers found that African American children are at greatest risk since 13.4 percent of these children were found to live in homes with smokers. The risk for African American children was found to be triple that of any of the other racial or ethnic groups. The second greatest risk group was Caucasian children, in which 12.2 percent were found to have an adult or teenage smoker in the home.

Lower income families were also found to be more likely to have a smoker in the home than higher income families. Rural areas of California, particularly the Sierra region, had more smokers than urban areas.

Children are believed to suffer more from secondhand/passive smoke than adults because they breathe more frequently per minute than adults. Infants breathe the most times per minute – more than three times as much as adults – making the intake of smoke into their lungs significantly greater. The smoke can cause asthma, pneumonia, ear infections, sinusitis, and bronchitis.

The Effects of Passive Smoke on Children

A report created by the U.S. Surgeon General in 2006 entitled, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Secondhand Smoke” stated that any secondhand smoke exposure in children is dangerous. The smoke can even prevent a child’s lungs from growing properly.

Studies have shown that women who smoke during pregnancy put their babies at significant risk of low birth weight, which can lead to death. Even secondhand smoke exposure in nonsmoking pregnant women can cause low birth weight according to the research.

Smoking and passive smoke exposure also significantly increase a baby’s risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.) This has been proven through discovering that infants who have succumbed to SIDS are more likely to have high levels of nicotine in their lungs.

Behavioral problems have been linked to smoke, including a higher risk of developing ADHD. Passive smoke has been linked to learning disabilities in children as well, especially leading to reading and math difficulties.

Pediatric Pulmonology

Pulmonology is the medical specialization that deals with breathing difficulties, lung disorders, and any disease of the respiratory tract. The respiratory system is not restricted to the lungs. It includes the sinuses, the thyroid, and the diaphragm.

Facilities that offer services in pulmonology in New Jersey and across the country can determine if a child has suffered respiratory damage due to secondhand smoke.


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