Secondhand Smoke at Home Leads to Increased Risk of Emphysema

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Babies

One more reason to quit smoking: your kids' health. Credit: SuperFantastic, Flickr

We've known for years that secondhand smoke puts the health of exposed children at risk. The severity of these risks, however, are still being discovered.

Researchers reported in late December that children regularly exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke at home are more likely to develop emphysema in adulthood. Scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health looked at CT scans of 1,781 nonsmoking adults and their smoke exposure during childhood. The adults with more exposure showed more emphysema-like lung changes in the scans.

"The key finding is that some effects of tobacco exposure on the lungs may persist for decades," Gina Lovasi, the study's lead researcher, tells ParentDish via e-mail. "This contradicts the idea that a child's lungs will recover quickly and completely once exposure stops."

The point? This is yet another reason to keep cigarette exposure away from children. Or, better yet, if you're a smoker, inspiration to kick the habit for good.

Related: Should I Take Medicine to Quit Smoking?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.