Last night I made my second trip to the casino since I turned 21, and, needless to say, I didn’t return a winner. I did, however, bring home clothes that reeked of cigarette smoke. A new study I read about this morning reminded me of the unpleasant smell that lingered with me long after my money was spent.
The study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that kids who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home were 50 percent more likely to develop two or more childhood neurobehavioral disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), than children who were not. The study estimated that nearly 5 million children under the age of 12 are exposed to secondhand smoke at home, and 274,000 of them struggle with learning disabilities and other behavioral disorders.
Learning disabilities may significantly disrupt a child’s life. ADHD is the most common behavioral disorder diagnosed in children; it affects about 5 percent of school-aged children. Kids with ADHD have trouble concentrating, do not follow directions, and often lose personal items. If not detected and treated, kids with ADHD can struggle with drug and alcohol abuse later in life, can have trouble concentrating and completing school, may find it hard to keep a job, and can even get in trouble with the law. Studies show that the best treatment for ADHD includes both medication and behavioral therapy, which can be time consuming and hard on your bank account.
Secondhand smoke has now been linked to
behavioral disorders, like ADHD, which can
effect an individual's day-to-day life significantly.
Photo by AMagill/Courtesy Flickr
Learning disabilities aren’t the only consequences of exposing someone to secondhand smoke, which is why it baffles me that smoking is still allowed in any public place. However, a lot of places haven’t caught on yet, including the 23 states in the United States that haven’t enacted statewide bans on smoking in public.
If, like them, you’re still not convinced that secondhand smoke is all that bad, here are a few more facts that might make you change your mind:
• Secondhand smoke causes cancer. No if, ands, or buts about it—it is a proven fact that secondhand smoke is a cancer-causing agent.
• Secondhand smoke causes other kinds of diseases in nonsmokers. These diseases include heart disease, lung cancer, and breathing problems. Secondhand smoke also causes lung infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, in children younger than 18 months.
• Secondhand smoke causes many health problems for children. Besides behavioral disorders, secondhand smoke can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections, ear infections and more severe asthma. It can also slow lung growth in children as well.