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Smokers Blow Their Infants Health into Thin Air

Infants born into family with atleast one parent smoking have five times as much cotinine, a nicotine byproduct, in their urine than infants whose parents are non-smokers , according to a report published in the journal, Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The study was led by researchers from the University of Leicester. They looked at 104 12-week-old infants (71 with at least one parent who smoked and 33 with nonsmoking parents) and found that having a mother who smoked quadrupled urine cotinine levels. Having a father who smoked doubled cotinine levels in an infant's urine. Cotinine is just one of thousands of potentially harmful nicotine byproducts that can accumulate in infants' bodies.

'Our findings clearly show that by accumulating cotinine, babies become heavy passive smokers secondary to the active smoking of parents,' Dr. Mike Wailoo of the University of Leicester and colleagues write in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

It is also found that cotinine levels increased further if the babies are sleeping with the parents or are in lower temperature rooms and it is seen that most of the babies affected by smoking come from poorer homes.

'Babies affected by smoke tend to come from poorer homes, which may have smaller rooms and inadequate heating,' the study authors wrote. 'Higher cotinine levels in colder times of year may be a reflection of the other key factors which influence exposure to passive smoking, such as poorer ventilation or a greater tendency for parents to smoke indoors in winter.'

The researchers also noted that sleeping with a parent is a known risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They suggest that one reason for this could be an infant's proximity to parents' clothing or other objects contaminated with smoke particles.

Over 6,000 children under the age of five die each year in United States alone due to second hand smoking. It causes respir
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