New findings published in the American medical journal, Pediatrics, show kids in smoking households may be more likely than their peers to suffer from ADHD, learning disabilities and conduct disorders.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed data on 55,000 children aged 12 and under, whose parents were interviewed as part of a 2007 national survey on children's health. Their findings concluded kids who lived with a smoker had more than twice the risk of being diagnosed with a behavioural problem, compared to their peers being raised in non smoking homes.
But it is not confirmed whether exposure to second hand smoking causes ADHD, or other neurobehavioural disorders. So far, the study's authors only warn the dangers were still tied to a higher risk.
Even after factoring in other possibilities, such as education and family income levels, secondhand smoke was still tied to a higher risk of behavioural problems, said Hillel R Alpert, one of the researchers.
To date, the causes of learning disabilities, ADHD and behavioural disorders are still poorly understood. As well, other limitations during the project involved relying on parents' reports. However, it is speculated the smoke itself may affect certain brain chemicals in children's developing brains.
At the very least, the study may give smoking parents yet another reason to quit the addiction. Children who are exposed to second hand smoke are also in danger of many more health risks, including
respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia, severe asthma and sudden infant death syndrome