The pecentage of asthmatic children exposed to second hand smoke has not dropped in over a decade

Secondhand smoke is known for causing attacks and discomfort in asthma patients. It is also known for developing asthma or even worsening an already diagnosed case. NBC News covered a recent study done by the National Center for Health Statistics on kids, asthma and secondhand smoke.

Results showed that the percentage of children exposed to secondhand smoke has dropped over recent years. However, the percentage of children with asthma haven’t been exposed any less.

“At a time when many Americans have managed to kick the habit, a surprising new government report finds that asthmatic kids are just as likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke as they were a decade ago, especially if they come from poor families.”

“There is some good news, though. During the same time period, secondhand smoke exposure dropped significantly among kids who don’t have asthma, according to the report by the National Center for Health Statistics.”

“‘What surprised us was that among kids with asthma, secondhand exposure to smoke did not decrease at all,’ said the report’s lead author, Dr. Kenneth B. Quinto, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘I think we could be doing a better job educating parents with children with asthma about the health effects of secondhand exposure.’”

“The new findings are ‘counterintuitive,’ said Dr. Sande Okelo, an asthma expert unaffiliated with the new study and an assistant professor of pediatric pulmonology the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Mattel Children’s Hospital, both at the University of California, Los Angeles.‘I think this would be very unexpected for your average physician, who would assume that the rates of smoking are going down for everyone.’”

“The data for the new report came from the ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which periodically interviews and examines a large nationally representative sample of Americans.”

“Quinto and his colleagues looked at health information collected on 12,000 children aged 3 to 19. Along with surveys, the NHANES researchers collected blood samples, which were tested for the presence of serum cotinine, which is a marker for secondhand smoke exposure.”

“The researchers found that from 1999 to 2010 the percentage of children without asthma who had been exposed to secondhand smoke decreased from 57 to 44 percent , while there was a barely perceptible drop, 58 percent to 54 percent, among kids with asthma.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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