Lung cancer, heart disease and nasal sinus cancer are a few of the risks smokers face when lighting up and the results of a recent study have helped add to this continuously growing list.
The study revealed that exposure to second-hand smoke affects the academic performance of adolescents. Researchers found that teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home – or who are smokers themselves – score 30 percent lower on standardized tests than adolescents who are not.
“Our retrospective study shows that in adolescents, secondhand smoke exposure could interfere with academic test performance,” Dr. Bradley Collins, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health and director of the Health Behavior Human Research Clinic at Temple University told ConsumerAffairs.com.
The study looked at over 6,000 children and their parents, examining factors such as the effects of current smoking exposure and prenatal exposure into account.
Researchers, originally interested in discovering the risk that current smoking exposure had on teenagers achievement tests, found that prenatal exposure did not pose a threat to adolescent’s performance on achievement tests.
“This study suggests that recent environmental tobacco smoke exposure is a more important factor than prenatal tobacco exposure in predicting adolescent achievement test performance,” authors of the study told Reuters Health.
According to the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco’s Web site, second-hand smoke contains over 4,000 harmful chemicals including numerous carcinogens and other harmful toxins. Over 100 studies have been conducted in the past 20 years exploring the harmful results of second-hand smoke inhalation, ranging from respiratory problems to lung cancer.
Due to the many damaging health risks tied to second-hand smoke exposure, researchers are hoping the latest study will help parents to reduce the amount of cigarette smoke that their children come into contact with.
The number of smokers who succeed in quitting is already very low. Less than 30 percent of smokers who attempt to drop the habit actually succeed.
“It’s important that we help smoking parents learn how to reduce their children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, a goal that can be achieved without requiring the parent to immediately quit smoking, although that is that is the ultimate goal for the health of the entire family,” Collins told ConsumerAffairs.com.
Collins, who has tried to help diminish the amount of second-hand smoke exposed to young children, is currently working on a smoking treatment research study that will do just that.
Ashley Roberts, a sophomore journalism major, said she had never heard about the study, but feels the results are plausible. Roberts, who has a 3.45 grade point average, also said her smoking habits have never seemed to affect her academically, but the study results do cause her some concern.
“It’s just another reason to quit,” Roberts said.
Amber Lauff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.