Passive smoke damages young children considerably

Passive smoke damages young children considerably

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Hyperactivity and behavioral problems from passive smoking

If children are exposed to smoking tobacco products in their first years of life, they are at an increased risk of developing symptoms of hyperactivity and behavioral problems. This emerges from a recent American study.

The latest Pennsylvania State University study found that children are at increased risk of hyperactivity and behavioral problems when smoking in their area. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry".

High vulnerability in the first four years of life

Exposing children to smoking in the first four years of their lives increases the likelihood of developing behavioral problems or symptoms of hyperactivity later in life.

Various factors had no impact on the result

The connection found persisted even after factors such as parenting, family income, history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in parents, depression and birth complications were considered.

Study included over 1,000 participating children

A total of 1,096 children took part in the current study. The researchers reported that the effects and effects found on children were triggered by nicotine. This could be quantified by a metabolic product called cotinine in the children's saliva.

Nicotine affects brain development

The results of the study are consistent with the findings of various animal models, which already showed an effect of nicotine exposure on the ongoing brain development in regions that are related to hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Stopping smoking in pregnancy is not enough

The dangers of smoking during pregnancy are now probably well known. But it is not only enough if expectant mothers give up smoking during pregnancy and generally do not try to come into contact with cigarette smoke.

We have to protect our children from the effects of smoking

The results of the current study clearly show that children need to be protected from the negative effects of smoking not only in the mother's womb. Even in their first years of life, our offspring is still particularly susceptible to the negative effects of exposure to nicotine.

Nicotine Hazards

Smoking harms our own health and the health of our children. Tobacco smoke contains many toxic substances, which can also cause cancer, for example. By ingesting through the lungs, toxins are spread across our body, causing many organs in the human body to be damaged. Smoking also damages the potency of men, affects oral health and contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Lisa Gatzke ‐ Kopp, Michael T. Willoughby, Siri Warkentien, Daniel Petrie, Roger Mills ‐ Koonce, Clancy Blair: Association between environmental tobacco smoke exposure across the first four years of life and manifestation of externalizing behavior problems in school ‐ aged children, in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Query: 04.12.2019), Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

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