A recent study by researchers of the University of Hong Kong suggests that the effects of secondhand smoke on children living in a household with smokers could affect their academic performance.
The study examined 23,000 students with a third being students who lived with at least one smoker at home. Results showed that this portion of the students were more likely to rate their academic performance as ‘poor’.
Twenty-three percent of students who said they were exposed to secondhand smoke at least five times a week said their performance at school fell short in comparison to classmates. Twenty percent of students living in homes less frequently exposed to secondhand smoke rated their performance similarly. This trend continued with a comparatively less seventeen percent of students in smoke-free households rating their academic performance as poor. Researchers agree that toxic facets of tobacco smoke like lead, arsenic and ammonic could biologically affect children’s learning abilities.
A prior study in 2007 indicated the effect of secondhand smoke on high school students’ testing record decreased the odds of passing standardized testing by thirty percent.
Researchers from both studies, though, questioned the objectivity of the results. The reliance on students rating themselves both on their academic performance and level of exposure to secondhand smoke could have resulted in room for error. Additionally, all factors that contribute to secondhand smoke exposure (such as exposure to secondhand smoke outside the household or prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke) and school performance could not have been assessed.
However, nevertheless, previous studies have shown the effects of secondhand smoke pose a threat in raising the risks of asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked to childhood behavioral problems and ADD/ADHD. Although the conclusions from this particular study are not set in stone, they add to an already long list of the benefits of living in a smoke-free household.
Read the original publication of the study in the Journal of Pediatrics.
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