Children of Smokers Are Less Healthy Than They Seem

Children with smoking parents may not be as healthy as they appear. A study presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference shows that although children of smokers may not exhibit respiratory problems, they may still be suffering from damage to their airways. Some researchers claim that children of smokers are more likely to have respiratory problems such as puffing, wheezing, and cases of pneumonia. However it is unclear if there is impairment in children who have no respiratory complaints or diagnosed problems.

The study consisted of 244 children ages 4 through 12 who had no history of lung or airway ailments. Based on the smoking patterns of parents, the children were separated into four groups:(1) never smokers, (2)smoking after birth but not during pregnancy, (3)during pregnancy but not after birth, and (4) before and after both.

Children of smoking parents were found to have reductions in lung function similar to that in smokers. Smoking after birth contributed more to lung impairment than smoking during pregnancy alone. Researchers believe that, with the growing number of outdoor smoking bans, there may be an increasing trend for parents to smoke inside the home.

While no ill effects of passive smoking have been demonstrated from outdoor smoke, if such a trend proves to be true, children exposed to indoor smoke could see diminished lung function over time.. It remains controversial whether personal smoking habits go beyond affecting the health of a single individual, and whether outdoor smoking bans make any sense from a scientific standpoint..


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