Wisconsin childern exposed to too much secondhand smoke, research shows

July 30, 2010, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Wisconsin childern exposed to too much secondhand smoke, research shows

(PhysOrg.com) -- Wisconsin children are exposed to secondhand smoke at a rate 40 percent higher than the national average, according to research published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

The study, conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Institute, found that 10.5 percent of Wisconsin age 17 and younger are regularly exposed to . That is the fifth-highest level of secondhand-smoke exposure in the nation.

A companion finding shows that 39 percent of Wisconsin youngsters who live with a smoker are exposed to secondhand smoke, second highest in the nation.

Based on the data in the report, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center researchers estimated that nearly 139,000 children in Wisconsin are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes.

The epidemiologists said they were surprised by the research findings because Wisconsin's high rate of child exposure is not associated with a similarly high smoking prevalence rate among adults. In 2007, Wisconsin had the 25th-lowest adult smoking rate in the nation (19.6 percent).

All of the other states with high rates of child exposure had high adult-smoking prevalence rates and no state law pertaining to smoke-free public places. Those with low exposure rates among children had low levels of adult smoking, as well as state laws requiring smoke-free public places.

Researchers also found that Wisconsin children were exposed to smoke in 39 percent of homes with a smoker, second only to West Virginia (41 percent). Cold weather and reluctance to smoke outside does not seem to explain the high rate. Other cold-weather states such as Minnesota, North and South Dakota have exposure rates that are about half the rate in Wisconsin.

Childhood exposure to secondhand smoke causes respiratory problems, higher risk for , respiratory infections, ear problems and . It is also strongly associated with behavioral problems in boys and most recently identified with substantially increased risk of lung cancer among people who have never smoked.

"While the level of secondhand-smoke exposure has declined substantially in the last decade, there is a continuing need to educate parents and caregivers of the immediate and long-term health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke," said Dr. Nathan Jones of the UW Carbone Cancer Center's Tobacco Surveillance and Evaluation group. "Parents and caregivers who smoke should be encouraged and assisted in quitting, rather than recommended to 'take it outside.' We need to get a better understanding of why exposure is so high in Wisconsin and how to address this public health problem with often long-term and serious consequences."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.