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

shares

Related Stories

Moderate levels of secondhand smoke deliver nicotine to the brain

May 2, 2011
Exposure to secondhand smoke, such as a person can get by riding in an enclosed car while someone else smokes, has a direct, measurable impact on the brain—and the effect is similar to what happens in the brain of the ...

Preteens surrounded by smokers get hooked on nicotine

June 13, 2011
Exposure to secondhand smoke can create symptoms of nicotine dependence in non-smoking preteens, according to a new study from Concordia University and the University of Montreal.

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 ...

7 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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.

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.