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Practitioner. 2010 May;254(1729):27-30, 3.

Passive smoking damages children's health.

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  • 1Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, Nottingham City Hospital.


Passive smoking in children accounts for an estimated 300,000 general practice consultations in the UK each year, the majority of which are for middle ear disease. There are also more than 100,000 asthma consultations in children attributable to passive smoking. Active maternal smoking causes up to about 5,000 miscarriages, 300 perinatal deaths, and 2,200 premature singleton births in the UK each year. Living in a household in which one or more people smoke more than doubles the risk of sudden infant death. Smoking by the mother increases the riskof lower respiratory infections by about 60%, and smoking by any household member by more than 50%. Passive smoking increases the risk of wheezing at all ages. The effect is strongest for smoking by the mother, with increases in risk of 65% to 77% according to the age of the child. It also increases the risk of asthma, with the risk increased by household smoking by about 50%, in school-aged children, and for middle ear disease, the risk is increased by about 35%. The simplest way to prevent passive exposure of children to tobacco smoke is to encourage and support their parents to quit smoking.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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