Entries in Smoke (4)


CDC: One in Five Students Exposed to Secondhand Smoke in Cars

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Government health researchers say the number of middle and high school students exposed to secondhand smoke in cars is on the decline.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at surveys of public and private school students over a ten year period and found a gradual drop in the number of kids who said they rode in a car with a smoke -- from 40 percent in 2000 to 22 percent in 2009.

“What's still alarming,” said Brian King with the CDC, “is that in 2009, even among the non-smokers, about one in five students are still exposed to secondhand smoke in cars.”

Exposure in a confined space can increase a number of health risks associated with secondhand smoke.

“Those include everything from ear infections, more severe asthma, acute respiratory infections, delayed lung growth and also sudden infant death syndrome,” King said.

Health risks are increased because of the small space of a vehicle and, King said, cracking a window doesn't help. “There's still dangerous levels of secondhand smoke in vehicles regardless of whether you have windows open,” he said.

“The more confined and the more enclosed, the higher levels there are of exposure and there is what we call a dose-response relationship -- the more exposure the more adverse health effects.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marijuana Smoke Not As Damaging As Tobacco, Says Study

Hemera/Thinkstock(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Occasionally puffing the magic dragon does not appear to have long-term adverse effects on lung function, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of California at San Francisco analyzed marijuana and tobacco use among 5,000 black and white men from the national database CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study), which was intended to determine heart disease risk factors over a 20-year period.

Measuring participants' lung function for air flow and lung volume five times throughout the study period, the researchers found that cigarette smokers saw lung function worsen throughout the 20-year period, but marijuana smokers did not. Only the heaviest pot smokers (more than 20 joints per month) showed decreased lung function throughout the study.

But, cautioned Dr. Stefan Kertesz, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and principle investigator on the study, the research should not be viewed as a green light to spark up.

Among the study participants, the average pot smoker lit up two to three times per month. The average tobacco user smoked eight cigarettes per day.

Those who smoked less than the heaviest actually saw a slight increase in air flow and lung function. But otherwise, researchers actually saw a slight increase in lung function among marijuana users.

While an adult male blows out about 4 liters of air in one second, those who occasionally smoked weed could blow out those 4 liters, plus another 50 milliliters -- about one-seventh of a soda can. Kertesz said that the enhanced lung capacity could be due to the extended and heavy inhalations done while smoking marijuana rather than any beneficial effect.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. About 16.7 million Americans 12 and older reported using marijuana at least once in the month prior to a survey conducted in 2009 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Still, the debate goes on as to whether pot should be legalized. So far, 16 states have legalized the substance for medical use to curb symptoms in patients with pain, AIDS, cancer and several other conditions.

As an institute on studying drug abuse, the National Institute of Drug Abuse noted that the results should not overshadow other established harmful effects of marijuana, such as adverse effects on cognition, potential for psychosis or panic during intoxication and the risk of addiction, which occurs in nine percent of users.

Some health experts have questioned whether the study's findings are conclusive. Robert MacCoun, professor of public policy and law at University of California at Berkeley, said that while the study was carefully conducted, the results are purely correlational.

Experts agreed that the study does not provide evidence that marijuana smoking is healthy for the lungs, but that marijuana is indeed a complex substance.

"I think what is most striking about the results is that we are so accustomed to studies emphasizing, and sometimes exaggerating, how dangerous marijuana is for users' health," said MacCoun. "So this study is a cautionary note that we still have a lot to learn about this complex psychoactive plant."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Should Children Be Routinely Tested for Cigarette Smoke Exposure?

Comstock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Most parents would want their children to be screened for cigarette smoke exposure when they visit their pediatricians, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children surveyed 477 smoking and non-smoking parents on whether or not they would want to have their children tested for the exposure as part of a routine primary care visit -- and found that 60 percent of them would.

Although tests to measure children's exposure to tobacco smoke exist, they are not currently used in child healthcare settings.  If they were, parents who smoke would get a better idea about whether their efforts to keep their children away from secondhand smoke are successful or not.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Thirdhand Smoke More Hazardous Than Previously Believed

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Thirdhand smoke -- the smoke that sticks to clothing, hair and furniture -- may be more dangerous than previously believed, according to a new study from the American Chemical Society.

The study, published in ACS’ journal, Environmental Science & Technology, found that residual nicotine from thirdhand smoke can form toxic pollutants when it comes in contact with ozone in indoor air.  As a result, babies crawling on carpets, people laying on couches or people eating tainted food could be at a health risk.

Researchers for the study, which was published in ACS’ journal, Environmental Science & Technology, tested how nicotine interacted with indoor air on various materials, like cellulose and cotton, to simulate results on household surfaces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio