News Tuesday June 14, 2011

Kids close to smokers more likely to become hooked

Secondhand smoke may cause preteens to more strongly consider smoking themselves says a new study conducted in Canada.

Researchers from Concordia University in Montreal looked at 327 preteens and chartered their smoking habits and those of their friends and families in a questionnaire format. This included even just situations when they observed smoking cigarettes from a distance. The results suggested that those who had a higher exposure to smokers felt that the habit was appealing.

“Preteens who were surrounded by more smokers believed that there are greater advantages to smoking,” said Simon Racicot, lead author at the university’s Department of Psychology, “Therefore smoking by parents, siblings, and friends increases risk factors of later smoking.”

Further studies the team of researchers want to have will include evaluating nicotine levels in hair samples of participants, in an attempt to narrow smoking inhalation for a period of a month. Data taken in this way would provide more concise information than the saliva tests done in this study to monitor nicotine itself in the body.

Senior author Jennifer J. McGrath, a professor in the Department of Psychology and director of its Paediatric Public Health Psychology Lab, confirmed this importance as nicotine plays the largest role in cigarettes addictive qualities. Specifically here how the second hand smoke contributes to secondhand smoke causing the addiction.

“Greater exposure to smokers is largely associated with greater exposure to nicotine," she said “early findings suggest that secondhand smoke exposure could possibly trigger addiction in the brain before [they] start smoking themselves.” The study was published in the Oxford journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

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