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Home Life and Popular Culture Pose Smoking Risk to Children

-- Jeff Muise

Monday, April 6, 2009

TUESDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking remains a serious health risk for children, who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or influenced to take it up themselves by its depiction in popular movies, according to two studies published in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.

In one study, Katherine King, of New York University in New York City, and colleagues assessed the exposure of children to secondhand smoke at home. Analyzing data on 46,982 children aged 0 to 18 years from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 2000-2004, the researchers found that 34.4 percent of children live with one or more adult smokers. Among poor children, 49.4 percent live with a smoker, and 21.2 percent live with multiple smokers.

In the other study, Madeline A. Dalton, Ph.D., of Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues assessed the influence of smoking seen in movies on smoking by adolescents. The researchers found a one-third increase in relative risk for established smoking for each successive quartile of movie smoking exposure. Compared to those in the lowest quartile, teens in the highest quartile of baseline movie smoking exposure were found to be twice as likely to be established smokers at follow-up of a mean age of 18.7 years.

"To the extent that our results are generalizable, estimates of attributable risk indicate that movie smoking exposure may account for one-third of established smoking by older adolescents and young adults," Dalton and colleagues write.

Abstract - King
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Abstract - Dalton
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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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