Secondhand Smoke Tied to Child Neurobehavioral Issues

Children exposed to postnatal secondhand smoke have increased risk for neurobehavioral disorders

MONDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Postnatal exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is associated with an increase in the risk of neurobehavioral disorders among children, according to a study published online July 11 in Pediatrics.

Zubair Kabir, M.D., Ph.D., from the Tobacco Free Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, and colleagues investigated the association between postnatal SHS exposure and neurobehavioral disorders in 55,358 children younger than 12 years old. Additionally, they investigated excess at-home SHS exposure-attributable neurobehavioral disorders using data from the 2007 National Survey on Children's Health. The neurobehavioral disorders assessed in the study included learning disability, attention-deficit disorder, and conduct disorder.

The investigators found that 6 percent of the participants, corresponding to 4.8 million children across the United States, were exposed to SHS in the home. Children who were exposed to SHS had a 50 percent increased odds of having two or more neurobehavioral disorders compared to those who were not exposed to SHS. The weighted prevalence rates were 8.2 percent for learning disabilities, 5.9 percent for attention-deficit disorder, and 3.6 percent for behavioral and conduct disorders. A significantly higher risk for neurobehavioral disorders was found in boys compared to girls, in older children, and in those living in households with high poverty levels. For the three neurobehavioral disorders studied, 274,100 excess cases could have been prevented if the children had not been exposed to SHS in the home.

"Odds of two or three parent-reported child neurobehavioral disorders increased by 50 percent, and need for treatment or counseling also increased," the authors write.

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