Obviously, children who grow up in a house with one or more of their parents smoking are exposed to secondhand smoke more often than children whose parents do not smoke. In addition to the exposure to secondhand smoke, these children are also more likely to pick up the bad habit of smoking.
The latest study showed that children of mothers who smoke were more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a chronic lung condition that affects roughly 11 million. As many as 24 million people have the disease and do not know it. It makes it difficult to breathe and can ultimately lead to death for those that have it. COPD is usually a direct effect of smoking, however, a the recent study showed that secondhand smoke may have an affect on the risk of developing COPD.
As the number of smokers continues to grow, it has become increasingly important to discover what kind of affect secondhand has on others (including children). About 40 percent of children throughout the world have at least one parent that smokes. The long-term health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke are still being studied and discovered everyday. Discovering the effects of secondhand smoke on children in crucial.
The study, which was published in an online journal called “Respirology,” said the findings “suggests that early life exposure to maternal smoking may increase an individual’s susceptibility to the hards of personal smoking in later life. Identifying those most at risk might provide an opportunity for a more individualized approach to the prevention of COPD.”
The study in its entirety took a look at 8,600 participants that were followed from birth (with birth dates starting in 1961). Children of mothers who are heavy smokers showed a significant increase in risk of developing of COPD. Many of the kids involved in the study developed COPD in their middle age.
Study researchers said that they hope this simply furthers the message that mothers (and parents in general) should not smoke when pregnant or with children in the home. Heavy maternal smoking increases the child’s long-term COPD risk greatly. The findings were not surprising to the researchers.
“Passive smoking” or secondhand smoking is a difficult thing to control. However, for mothers who heavily smoke, there are precautions that can be put into place so that their children are not put in harms way. You should:
- Smoke outside
- Do not smoke in the car with your kids
- Do not hold your child while smoking
- If your child is in your immediate vicinity, you should not smoke
Of course, the best way to save your lungs, your child’s lungs and your wallet is to quit smoking completely. Although it may sound easier than it is, quitting smoking can save lives (and lot of money).
Photo: Flickr: Valentin Ottone