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Secondhand smoke increases teen test failure
Date:9/20/2007

Teens exposed to secondhand smoke at home are at increased risk of test failure in school, suggests a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Our retrospective study suggests that in adolescents, secondhand smoke exposure could interfere with academic test performance, said lead author Bradley Collins, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health and director of the Health Behavior Research Clinic at Temple University.

Taking other known risk factors into account for example, socioeconomic status, gender, prenatal exposure to smoking and active smoking during adolescence Collins and his colleagues found that exposure to secondhand smoke at home decreased the odds of passing standardized achievement tests by 30 percent in 16- and 18-year-olds. Surprisingly, the study found that when examining the effects of prenatal tobacco exposure and secondhand smoke together, prenatal exposure did not influence test performance.

These study results bolster growing evidence of academic-related secondhand smoke consequences beyond the known health consequences, and should further encourage efforts to reduce this environmental threat, the researchers stated.

Its important that we help smoking parents learn how to reduce their childrens exposure to secondhand smoke, a goal that can be achieved without requiring the parent to immediately quit smoking, although thats the ultimate goal for the health of the entire family, said Collins. Current smoking cessation success rates are low, ranging from 20 percent to 28 percent in the United States.

The researchers, who analyzed data from 6,380 pregnant women and children from the 1958 British National Child Development Study, initially were interested in the long-term effects of prenatal exposure to smoking on adolescent achievement test performance when controlling for the effects of secondhand smoke exposure during adolescence. They found it interesting that secondhand smoke exposure trumped prenat
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Contact: Eryn Jelesiewicz
dobeck@temple.edu
215-707-0730
Temple University
Source:Eurekalert

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