A new study finds early life exposure to second-hand smoke can produce life-long respiratory problems. The study of 35,000 adult non-smokers in Singapore found that those who lived with a smoker during childhood had more respiratory problems, including chronic cough. Study participants who reported eating more fruit and soy fiber as adults seemed to be protected against some of the negative health effects often associated with early tobacco exposure.
Individuals 18 or younger, living with one or more smokers, were more than twice as likely to suffer from chronic dry cough as adults, according to a new study published by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, the University of Minnesota, and the National University of Singapore. This paper, which appears online in Thorax, is the largest study to date on the effects of childhood exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on later respiratory disease, and the first to include data on dietary intake.
“This research adds to a growing body of evidence that exposure to second-hand smoke early in life has health consequences that can last a lifetime,” said Dr. David Schwartz, Director of the NIEHS. “In addition to finding ways to reduce the exposure of children to tobacco smoke and other environmental pollutants, we also need to look for ways to reduce the disease burden.”
NIEHS, a component of the National Institutes of Health, supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health. For more information about environmental tobacco smoke and other environmental health topics, please visit our website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/.
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