Secondhand Smoke Can Lead to ADHD, Study Shows

Filed under: In The News, Health

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Here's one more reason to stop smoking. Credit: AP

Here's another reason for moms-to-be to quit smoking and order others to keep their cigs out of their homes: Secondhand smoke could boost a child's risk of depression and behavioral disorders, including ADHD, a new study claims.

Kids of mothers who breathed in secondhand smoke while they were pregnant experienced serious side effects linked to heart and breathing problems and were more likely to have behavioral problems, Reuters reports.

"It's time for us to begin to prevent children's exposure to (secondhand smoke) if we are serious about preventing these diseases," Dr. Bruce Lanphear, who heads the Cincinnati Children's Environmental Health Center, tells the news service. "We have sufficient evidence to prevent many of these diseases, but we don't." Lanphear was not involved in the study.

The researchers studies 3,000 kids between the ages of 8 and 15, measuring the level of cotinine (which forms in the body after the breakdown of nicotine) to find which children had been exposed to secondhand smoke. Kids with the highest levels of cotinine were considered smokers, and eliminated from the study, Reuters reports. The results were published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Girls who were exposed to secondhand smoke showed more symptoms of ADHD and anxiety only. Boys were more likely to show signs of ADHD, depression, anxiety and conduct disorders than those who had no secondhand smoke exposure, according to the news service.

Frank Bandiera of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, one of the lead researchers, tells Reuters the number of kids actually diagnosed with most of the conditions was still small. While 201 kids, or about 7 percent, had enough symptoms of ADHD to be diagnosed with the disorder, only 15 kids were diagnosed with depression and nine with an anxiety disorder.

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