An interesting new study has been published suggesting that children who are exposed to second-hand smoke in early childhood are more likely to grow up to be physically aggressive and antisocial, regardless of whether they were exposed during pregnancy or their parents have a history of being antisocial.
The study by Linda Pagani and Caroline Fitzpatrick of the University of Montreal was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
40% of children worldwide are exposed to secondhand smoke but exposure to this smoke in early childhood is particularly dangerous, as the child’s brain is still developing.
When compared with ‘never exposed children’, children exposed to continuous secondhand smoke scored higher on self-reported aggressive behavior and teacher-rated antisocial behavior in fourth grade, which is equivalent to Year 5 in the UK (age 9-10).
Secondhand smoke comprises 85% side stream smoke emanated from a burning cigarette and 15% inhaled and then exhaled mainstream smoke.
Side stream smoke can be considered more toxic than mainstream smoke because it contains a higher concentration of many pollutants and exposure is over a longer period.
This study suggests that the postnatal period is important for the prevention of impaired neurobehavioral development and makes the case for the promotion of an unpolluted domestic environment for children.
In Warwickshire there is a free Stop Smoking Service for people wishing to quit. For help and advice on stopping smoking call 0800 0852917, text LIFE to 80800 or visit smokefreewarwickshire.org