Passive Smoking Linked to ADHD, Learning Disabilities in Children

Posted on Sep 8, 2011 in Health Optimization

By Roberta Seldon

Passive smoking, or secondhand smoke, can lead to ADHD and learning disabilities in children, according to a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, CNN reports.

According to CNN, the new study found that children exposed to passive smoking in the home had a 50 percent increased risk — compared with children who were not exposed at home — of developing at least two neurobehavioral disorders.

The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics, estimates that nearly five million children under the age of 12 are exposed to passive smoking at home. Eight percent, or roughly 274,000, of those children suffer from learning disabilities, ADHD and other behavioral disorders.

These findings, according to the study’s authors, “underscore the health burden of childhood neurobehavioral disorders that may be attributable to secondhand smoke exposure in homes in the States,” CNN reports.

“This is particularly significant with regard to the potential burden of pediatric mental healthcare on an overextended healthcare system, a problem that could be dramatically reduced if voluntary smoke-free home policies were widely adopted,” they added.

Annual medical costs associated with treating a child with a neurobehavioral disorder is approximately $14,576 per individual. On a national level, that comes out to be about $9.2 billion each year, the study found.

Furthermore, a report from the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse found that nine out of 10 people who are substance abusers began smoking, drinking or using other drugs before they turned 18.

According to CNN, experts say parents can prevent children from smoking by not smoking themselves and by getting more involved in their child’s activities.