Secondhand smoke isn’t just bad for your kids’ health. According to a recent study, exposure to household tobacco smoke in early childhood can also cause behavioural problems, The Mirror reports.
Researchers from the University of Montreal have found a link between exposure to antisocial behaviour, which is “characterised by a proactive intent to harm others, lack prosocial feelings, and violate social norms.” This can manifest in:
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- criminal offences
- refusal to submit to authority
- destruction of property
- academic problems
Thus, children who are exposed to tobacco smoke at a young age are more likely to drop out of school.
“Young children have little control over their exposure to household tobacco smoke, which is considered toxic to the brain at a time when its development is exponential,” Professor Linda Pagani explained in a media release.
Second- and third-hand smoke has already been linked to short- and long-term health problems, but this is the first time it has been linked to behaviour.
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“Now for the first time, we have compelling evidence which suggests other dangers to developing brain systems that govern behavioural decisions, social and emotional life, and cognitive functioning,” Pagani added.
When the brain is exposed to toxic tobacco smoke while it is still developing, it can result in abnormal brain development.
If someone in your home still smokes, please urge them to quit. Here are some other ways that secondhand smoke affects your children’s health, from Healthy Children.
Babies have a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) when exposed to tobacco smoke
2. Higher risk of health problems
Children exposed to secondhand smoke have more ear infections, coughs and colds, respiratory problems, and tooth decay. They also have a harder time recovering from these illnesses.
3. Miss more school days
Because these children fall sick more often, they often miss more of school.
4. Aggravates asthma
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Secondhand smoke can cause more asthma attacks. These can be so severe that kids might need to be sent to the hospital.
5. More likely to smoke
Kids who grow up with parents who smoke are more likely to smoke themselves.
6. Serious health problems
Some health problems that kids exposed to secondhand smoke can have later in life are lung cancer, heart disease, and cataracts. Their lungs might also have not grown into their full potential.
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