A new study shows that when children are exposed to second hand tobacco smoke, it takes its toll on their abilities.
Researchers at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital followed nearly 5,000 children from age 6 to 16, making this the largest study ever to look at the effects of environmental tobacco smoke on kids. Bottom line, the study found that when kids breathe second hand tobacco smoke, it decreases their brain power as shown by testing for reading, math and problem solving skills.
"Children at the highest levels of exposure in our sample lost as much as seven to eight points on a reading test," says Kim Yolton, with Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
The study found that even kids who had extremely low levels of exposure showed some adverse affects, with the greater the exposure the bigger the drop in test scores. The report estimates that even though more people today are trying to kick the habit, 33 million kids in this country are still exposed to second hand smoke, many in their own homes.
The study is in the January issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.