A new Canadian study shows that children who are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke prenatally or while they are growing up are more likely to develop physically aggressive and anti-social behaviors. Anthony Rivas explains why, according to the study’s author, “secondhand smoke is in fact more dangerous than inhaled smoke”:
Secondhand smoke is classified as a “known human carcinogen” with more than 7,000 chemical compounds — 250 of them are known to be harmful and 69 of them are known to cause cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. There are also two different forms of the smoke: mainstream smoke (15 percent of total smoke), which is the smoke that is exhaled, and sidestream smoke (85 percent), which is the smoke that comes off the lighted end of a cigarette. Sidestream smoke is considered more dangerous because it has higher concentrations of carcinogens and smaller particles, which can make their way into the lungs and body’s cells more easily than mainstream smoke.
Today begins the “Talk With Your Doctor” campaign, an effort by the CDC and various physician organizations, including the AAP, to provide tips to smokers on how to quit. Tim McAfee, MD, MPH has a preview in JAMA:
The Tips campaign motivates smokers to quit and directs smokers who want help to evidence-based cessation resources. The campaign ads feature real stories from former smokers about how serious smoking-related diseases have affected their lives and their families. The campaign includes both well-known consequences of smoking such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as lesser-known consequences such as stroke, heart disease, head and neck cancer, Buerger disease, and exacerbation of asthma and diabetes. Stories emphasize the morbidity caused by smoking, rather than mortality, based on what we heard from smokers during formative testing. The campaign includes ads for television, radio, billboards, newspapers, and magazines, as well as for digital and social media channels.
Each Tips ad ends by providing a cessation resource for smokers who want help quitting: 1-800-QUIT-NOW, which directs callers to their state quitlines for free cessation counseling, or the Tips campaign website, which provides information on the campaign and practical quitting advice.
Perhaps you’ve seen some of the TV ads already as part of this national media “Tips From Former Smokers” (Tips) campaign. You can meet the former smokers and hear their personal stories, here. This one is especially brutal and inspired this comment from a YouTube viewer:
I remember seeing this on a commercial and I stopped what I was doing and just listened. I myself am not a smoker though my father was. Graciously he quit years ago but I can notice that there are still effects of his smoking from his smile to his laugh to his breathing. I promised myself I’d show this video to my Health Class and I did do that. Kids these day don’t fully understand the effects of smoking, and with the help of this, Terrie’s message, they now do.
3 of my classmates quit.
Anna Gorman provides some statistics:
Surgeon Gen. Regina Benjamin said the U.S. had reduced tobacco use by half since 1964, but there was still a long way to go. About 1,200 people die each day from smoking, and one-fifth of the adult population continues to smoke, she said.
One can only wonder about the health and longevity of millions of children who are exposed to secondhand smoke every day.
More tobacco coverage on The PediaBlog here.