Smoking with a child in the car? Think again, says US report
WASHINGTON, Feb 7 — A news report from the US, reportedly the first of its kind, reveals a new concern for parents of teenagers: second-hand smoke while in the car.
Researchers from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that more than one in five middle school and high school-aged children ride in cars while others are smoking, according to a report released yesterday.
To reach their findings, researchers surveyed kids on how often they rode in cars while someone was smoking within the past week, with most kids responding with one or two days. Smokers could be other kids or adults. Data from 2009 was used in the study, with 22 per cent of teens and preteens being exposed to second-hand smoke in cars. In 2000, 40 per cent of kids were exposed, but while the figures have declined, researchers say the numbers are still “problematic.” The report was published online in the journal Pediatrics.
The CDC adds that second-hand smoke exposure could put kids at risk of breathing problems and allergies and that more restrictions need to be implemented to prevent it. Some states have enacted measures to ban smoking in cars when children are present.
Late last year, the British Medical Association urged the government to take a “bold and courageous step” and extend current laws to include a ban on smoking in private vehicles. Britain banned smoking in public places such as pubs and restaurants in 2007 but has avoided legislating for private areas.
Due to crackdowns on smoking in many public places around the globe, cars and private homes have become primary sources of second-hand smoke, with cars offering an increased risk of health problems due to the confined space, experts say.
“There is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” the CDC says.
The CDC advises parents to not allow smoking in their homes and cars, and warns that opening a car window will not protect kids from the smoke inside. — AFP/Relaxnews