Secondhand smoke exposure common in cars

Nov. 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM   |   Comments

BOSTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Almost half of parents who smoke and have motor vehicles said they smoked while children were in their vehicle, U.S. researchers said.

Emara Nabi-Burza, Susan Regan and Nancy Rigotti of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the University of Rochester Medical Center, said the study involved 981 smoking parents, of whom 83 percent had a car,

Of 795 who answered questions about their car smoking policy, 29 percent reported having a smoke-free policy, and 24 percent had a strictly enforced smoke-free policy.

Of the 562 parents without a smoke-free policy, 73 percent admitted someone had smoked in their car in the past three months and 48 percent reported smoking occurred with children present. Twelve percent of the smoking parents said they were told by someone in healthcare to have a smoke-free car with children.

The study, scheduled to be published in the December issue of Pediatrics, found having a younger child and smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day were associated with having a strictly enforced smoke-free car policy.

"The majority of smoking parents exposed their children to tobacco smoke in cars," the researchers wrote in the study. "Coupled with the finding of low rates of pediatricians addressing smoking in cars, this study highlights the need for improved pediatric interventions, public health campaigns, and policies regarding smoke-free car laws to protect children from tobacco smoke."

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