There have been more aggressive efforts than ever before in American history to wipe out smoking. Smoking has been shown to be directly associated with lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Syracuse has joined other communities across the United States in supporting anti-smoking campaigns. Now another risk from smoking has been highlighted in an article in ScienceDaily, “Teens Get More Ear Infections When Someone Smokes at Home”, http://bit.ly/id0RYy. This article was reprinted with editorial adaptations from an article by Sharyn Alden in Health Behavior News Service, bit.ly/fK36Gx.
It appears that family members who smoke often feel it is alright to smoke inside their homes as their children age. However, it has been shown in a new study that in households with secondhand smoke, kids between 12 years old and 17 years old are 1.67 times more likely to have recurrent ear infections in comparison to adolescents who live in a smoke-free environments. In this study researchers at Harvard analyzed smoking behavior of 90,961 families surveyed between April 2007 and July 2008.
Summer Hawkins Ph.D., the lead study author, has said “Overall, we found that the proportion of households that use tobacco products is the same across all age groups, but family members are increasingly more likely to smoke indoors as their children become preteens and teenagers. The reason why secondhand smoke may cause ear infections is not known completely, but secondhand smoke is an irritant and that may increase children’s and adolescents’ susceptibility to ear infections.” These findings have been published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in an article titled “Increased tobacco exposure in older children and the impact on asthma and ear infections” by Hawkins et al.
Ellen Wald, M.D., who is the Chairman of Pediatrics for American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, has said “Parents are usually pretty savvy and know it’s not in their children’s best interest to smoke indoors. When they say they never smoke indoors, I’m skeptical. They know that’s the answer people want to hear.” And so the study authors have suggested that pediatricians should do more to make parents aware of the hazards to their kids from secondhand smoke.
Hawkins has gone on to say “Parents and health care providers need to work together to create a smoke-free environment for their children. Providers should ask parents about tobacco use during clinic visits. Parents can reduce children’s exposure to secondhand by prohibiting smoke inside the home.” And Wald has gone on to comment that although there are no simple answers to dealing with the problem of secondhand smoke that nevertheless “In order to change behavior you have to talk about it. Physicians are in a good position to send the message that everyone’s vulnerable to secondhand smoke, not just children and adolescents but adults as well.”
Hopefully an increased awareness about problems associated with second hand smoke will encourage the Syracuse community to join the other communities in becoming even more aggressive about supporting initiatives to wipe out smoking.
Mandel News Service: http://www.mandelnews.com