HEALTH ALERT: Kids In Apartments Get More Secondhand Smoke - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

HEALTH ALERT: Kids In Apartments Get More Secondhand Smoke

MSNBC.COM - A new study finds children may be at an increased risk of exposure to secondhand smoke by living in apartment complexes rather than in houses.

Using data from a national survey, researchers compared  levels MSNBC.COM - A new study finds children may be at an increased risk of exposure to secondhand smoke by living in apartment complexes rather than in houses.of cotinine — a substance formed by the breakdown of nicotine that is used to test for tobacco exposure — in the blood of more than 5,000 youngsters ages 6 to 18. Seventy-three percent of the kids had been exposed to tobacco smoke, but the researchers found that the levels of cotinine were higher in children living in apartments than in those living in houses.

Smoke that creeps through ventilation systems or migrates through the walls of multi-unit housing may be the cause, the researchers said, but they couldn't be sure. None of the parents of the children in the original study said they smoked inside the home.

"Parents try so hard to protect their children from dangers, such as tobacco smoke. It's surprising to see these results and realize that too many parents have no control over whether their children are exposed to secondhand smoke in their own homes," said study researcher Dr. Karen Wilson, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The researchers noted they couldn't distinguish between the contributions of smoke exposure in and out of the home. Some of the cotinine levels in the blood could be from smoky air at relatives' houses or at day care facilities, they said.

Even if parents smoked outside and residue on their clothes found its way inside, this was unlikely to explain the large number of children exposed to tobacco smoke, Wilson said. She added that only 20 percent of adults smoke.

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