Second-Hand Smoke Increases Your Child’s Risk for ADHD and Mental Health Issues (study)

tobaccoParents, if you smoke, I know it is hard to quit.  Smokers know it is bad for their health and yet after multiple attempts to quit, they return to that nicotine.  This is one of the most powerful and addictive substances known. As with any addictive substance or behavior, you can beat it.  You must have a reason, a WHY that is so powerful that you will make quitting your number one priority and keep it there until you win that battle. Wanting to quit, though, is just the start.  You have to follow that with action.  That might mean seeing your doctor for help. You may need a medication to assist you, or need to use nicotine replacement.  You may benefit from working with a counselor who deals with smoking cessation.

The study, “Exposure to secondhand smoke in the home and mental health in children: a population-based study,” (which you can read here… )  looked at 2357 Spanish children aged 4-12 and compared their scores on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and compared rates of ADHD along with many other variables to the second hand smoke exposure. About seven percent of the kids were exposed to secondhand smoke for less than one hour per day, and 4.5 percent were exposed for an hour or more each day. Children exposed to secondhand smoke for less than one hour a day were 50 percent more likely to have some mental disorder and 200% more likely to have ADHD, compared to kids not exposed at all. Those exposed for over an hour had an almost 300% increase (3X) risk of mental health issues and ADHD.

Parents, I know it is politically incorrect to advise you not smoke in the home or car as your way to minimize second hand smoke exposure because I am supposed to encourage you to stop smoking all together.  Well I do encourage you to stop completely and to do that now.  But while you struggle with that (if you do struggle) please make a commitment to your family and loved-ones that you will never light up in front of them, in the house, or in a closed space.


Dr. Paul




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