Researchers have found that children who are exposed to tobacco smoke in their homes or who live with a smoker are more likely to have frequent illnesses and to visit the pediatrician more often, according to ANI News.
The study's team of scientists used data from 2011-2012 of the National Survey on Children's Health that was conducted by the US Centers for Disease and Control Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. They studied patterns of health care usage among kids ranging from infancy to the age of 17 who lived in a home with a smoker. They then compared the children to those who were not exposed to cigarette smoke at home.
The research team found that 24% of the 95,677 young people in the study that corresponded to a weighted sum of 17.6 million kids nationwide lived in a family with someone who smoked.
Approximately 5% of the young ones lived in a home where someone smoked inside the house, which is equal to a weighted total of 3.6 million US children.
The researchers found that the children who lived with smokers or were exposed to tobacco smoke at home were substantially more likely to have visited a doctor. Also, these same children were less likely to have seen a dentist.
Ashley Merianos of the University of Cincinnati was the lead author of the study. Merianos is a certified health education specialist and assistant professor in the School of Human Services at UC. She suggested that any setting that had a high probability of serving children who live in a home where they are exposed to secondhand smoke was an excellent outlet for health messages.
Pediatric emergency departments, for example, would be an invaluable venue to inform parents about the dangers of smoke exposure. At the same time, parents could be advised that medical visits could be lessened, along with their associated costs, if tobacco smoke exposure was decreased.
When someone in the family smokes, the air quality in a home remains tainted. When children come into the room, they can still breathe in the toxins, reports Praveen Kumar, writing for India's Bold Sky.
The study, entitled "Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Health Care Utilization among Children Nationwide," was not the first of its kind. Previous studies have confirmed that tobacco smoke is responsible for health issues in young people, such as respiratory conditions, increased infections, along with asthma symptoms.
But a more limited number of studies have explored evidence concerning how smoke exposure leads to more frequent visits to the pediatrician, reports Science Daily.
"Our findings indicate that tobacco smoke exposure has a significant impact on demand for health care services," Dr. Merianos said.
The study is to be presented at Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting.
Meanwhile, in England, children's exposure to secondhand smoke has decreased by roughly 80% since 1998, reports Science Daily. A UK study used information from more than 35,000 children who were part of the annual Health Survey for England from 1998 to 2012.
The presence of secondhand smoke exposure was retrieved from saliva samples from young people. The scientists analyzed for the presence of cotinine, a nicotine derivative.
The British government created a national tobacco control plan in 2010. Its goal was to see two-thirds of UK households go smokeless by 2020. Currently, more than one half of homes with children who have parents who smoked have gone smoke-free. The national goal may be reached before 2020.