A new study conducted by Preventive Medicine and Community Health faculty member at the University of Texas Medical Branch estimated the magnitude of secondhand smoke exposure among >350,000 adolescents representing approximately 70 million never-smoking youth on a global-scale and found that approximately one-third and two-fifths were exposed to secondhand smoke inside or outside their homes. Additionally, never-smoking youth exposed to both their parents’ or peers’ smoking were associated with 23 times odds of secondhand smoke exposure compared with their counterparts. Secondhand smoke is a common air pollutant and has been associated with several diseases in children and adolescents.
Despite well-documented health effects, the rising global tobacco epidemic suggests that more never-smokers, particularly vulnerable populations such as adolescents, are continuously being exposed to secondhand smoke. “We need to protect never-smokers from being exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke exposure and its effects on health is a known fact, but how many, especially never-smokers, are exposed to it is always a question. Our study findings provide evidence for policy makers and public health professionals the need for smoke-free environments world-wide” says Dr. Phani Veeranki, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the UTMB.
Other co-authors include researchers from the East Tennessee State University, Indian Institute of Technology and WHO Regional Office for Africa. The study findings are published recently in the Journal of Adolescent Health at http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X%2814%2900427-3/abstract