More ear infections in teens with smoker at home

Dec 07, 2010 By Sharyn Alden

Family members who smoke are more apt to feel it is OK to smoke indoors as their children get older. But in households with secondhand smoke, children between 12 and 17 are 1.67 times more prone to have recurrent ear infections compared to adolescents who live in a smoke-free environment, a large new study reveals.

Harvard researchers analyzed smoking behavior of 90,961 families surveyed between April 2007 and July 2008.

“Overall, we found that the proportion of that use tobacco products is the same across all age groups, but family members are increasingly more likely to smoke indoors as their become preteens and teenagers,” said Summer Hawkins Ph.D., lead study author. “The reason why secondhand smoke may cause is not known completely, but secondhand smoke is an irritant and that may increase children’s and ’ susceptibility to ear infections.”

Their findings appear online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“Parents are usually pretty savvy and know it’s not in their children’s best interest to smoke indoors,” said Ellen Wald, M.D., chair of pediatrics for American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wis. “When they say they never smoke indoors, I’m skeptical. They know that’s the answer people want to hear.”

The study authors suggest that pediatricians should do more to make parents aware of the hazards of secondhand smoke.

“Parents and health care providers need to work together to create a smoke-free environment for their children,” Hawkins said. “Providers should ask parents about tobacco use during clinic visits. Parents can reduce children’s exposure to secondhand by prohibiting smoke inside the home.”

While no simple answer exists, Wald said, “In order to change behavior you have to talk about it. Physicians are in a good position to send the message that everyone’s vulnerable to , not just children and adolescents but adults as well.”

Explore further: Research examines relationship between domestic abuse and football

More information: Hawkins SS, Berkman L. Increased tobacco exposure in older children and the impact on asthma and ear infections. J Adol Health online 2010. www.jahonline.org/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Secondhand smoke a risk for children worldwide

Mar 05, 2008

Parents worldwide are doing little to protect their children from exposure to secondhand smoke, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Exposure to secondhand smoke has ...

Recommended for you

Health care organizations see value of telemedicine

Nov 27, 2014

(HealthDay)—Health care organizations are developing and implementing telemedicine programs, although many have yet to receive reimbursement, according to a report published by Foley & Lardner.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.