Too many kids breathe others' smoke in cars: CDC

February 6, 2012 By LINDSEY TANNER , AP Medical Writer

Texting while driving, speeding and back-seat hanky-panky aren't all that parents need to worry about when their kids are in cars: Add secondhand smoke to the list.

In the first national estimate of its kind, a report from government researchers says more than 1 in 5 and middle schoolers ride in cars while others are smoking.

This kind of has been linked with and , and more restrictions are needed to prevent it, the report says.

With widespread crackdowns on smoking in public, private places including homes and cars are where people encounter secondhand smoke these days. Anti-smoking advocates have zeroed in on cars because of research showing they're potentially more dangerous than smoke-filled bars and other less confined areas.

The research, from the federal , was released online Monday in Pediatrics.

The study is based on national surveys done at public and private high schools and . Students were asked how often they rode in cars while someone was smoking within the past week. The most common answer was one or two days. The smoker could mean other kids or parents; the study didn't specify.

A CDC fact sheet suggests even small amounts of secondhand smoke can be risky.

"There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke," the CDC says.

Overall, 22 percent of teens and pre-teens were exposed to secondhand smoke in cars in 2009, the latest data available. That figure declined gradually during the decade, from 40 percent in 2000, the study found. But still, the numbers of kids still facing the risks "is certainly problematic," said CDC researcher Brian King, the study's lead author.

"The car is the only source of exposure for some of these children, so if you can reduce that exposure, it's definitely advantageous for health," King said.

The advises parents to not allow smoking in their homes and cars, and says opening a car window will not protect kids from cigarette smoke inside.

Measures banning smoking in cars when children are present have been enacted in a handful of states and proposed in several others. The study authors say similar bans should be adopted elsewhere.

Explore further: Moderate levels of secondhand smoke deliver nicotine to the brain

More information: American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.aap.org
CDC: http://1.usa.gov/5aEqiK

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7 comments

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dogbert
2 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2012
When it is difficult to pass laws prohibiting personal freedom as, for example, in one's own home or vehicle, the mantra is always "Do it for the children!".

This is not science, it is political activism.
ShotmanMaslo
not rated yet Feb 06, 2012
When it is difficult to pass laws prohibiting personal freedom as, for example, in one's own home or vehicle, the mantra is always "Do it for the children!".

This is not science, it is political activism.


I do agree that the article includes political activism and "Do it for the children" as an excuse is often misused.

On the other hand, how is smoking in car with children a personal freedom? If it harms another unconsenting innocent person (the child), it is no longer personal. It is an interpersonal, public freedom.

Children are not the property of the parents, but human beings with their own rights, such as right to healthy environment.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2012
When it is difficult to pass laws prohibiting personal freedom as, for example, in one's own home or vehicle, the mantra is always "Do it for the children!".

There is, however, a mandate to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

ask yourself what is more important:
The personal right to to decide to shoot someone in the head? Or the right for that person to be protected from someone shooting them (or you) in the head.
Phigma
not rated yet Feb 06, 2012
This article is lame as hell
dogbert
not rated yet Feb 07, 2012
ShotmanMaslo,
On the other hand, how is smoking in car with children a personal freedom? If it harms another unconsenting innocent person (the child), it is no longer personal. It is an interpersonal, public freedom.


Where do you stop with regulated behavior? Will you regulate what parents can feed their children? Will you regulate what they can read, what shows they can watch? Is there a limit to nanny state interference?

The other issue is that second hand smoke is not the medical emergency it is claimed to be. Children are not now nor were they ever hitting the emergency rooms and physician's offices with second hand smoke disease because there is no such disease. My parents smoked almost constantly, in the house and in the car. None of their children were harmed by their smoking. I don't know anyone who has been harmed by second hand smoke and I bet you don't either.
ShotmanMaslo
not rated yet Feb 07, 2012
Where do you stop with regulated behavior? Will you regulate what parents can feed their children? Will you regulate what they can read, what shows they can watch? Is there a limit to nanny state interference?


There is indeed a limit.

My parents smoked almost constantly, in the house and in the car. None of their children were harmed by their smoking. I don't know anyone who has been harmed by second hand smoke and I bet you don't either.


The exact effects of second-hand smoking should be up to medical researchers to determine, anecdotal evidence is worthless. Then the society should decide whether it is worth a ban for people with children or not.

dogbert
not rated yet Feb 07, 2012
The exact effects of second-hand smoking should be up to medical researchers to determine, anecdotal evidence is worthless. Then the society should decide whether it is worth a ban for people with children or not.


That is the problem in a nutshell. There has been no valid research into the medical effects (if any) of second hand smoke. The published claims are simply made up. They bear no relation to reality at all.

Basing public policy -- especially public policy which erodes people's rights -- on bogus science is not good policy.

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