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Secondhand Smoke Tied to Kids' Behavior Problems - featured July 18, 2011

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[Source: Reuters]

Children exposed to secondhand smoke at home may be more likely than their peers to have learning and behavioral problems, according to a new study.

Researchers found that of more than 55,000 U.S. children younger than 12 years, six percent lived with a smoker. And those kids were more likely to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a learning disability or "conduct disorder" than children in smoke-free homes.

Even after accounting for a number of possible explanations -- like parents' incomes and education levels -- secondhand smoke was still tied to a higher risk of behavioral problems, said Hillel R. Alpert of the Harvard School of Public Health, one of the researchers on the work.

Still, the findings don't prove a smoke-filled home is to blame, said Alpert, because other factors the study didn't look at could be at play.

For instance, children exposed to secondhand smoke are often exposed to smoke while they are still in the womb. And mothers' smoking during pregnancy has been linked to increased risks of learning and behavioral problems.

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Tags: News of the Week ADHD Newsletter 22 July 2011