Nicotine Dependence in Non-Smoking Children
> 10/1/2008 6:24:32 PM

Understanding of the dangers of smoking has developed gradually. There was resistance to the idea that smoking caused any health problems for the smoker until the sheer mass of evidence precluded denial. Once this was accepted, it took more work to convince smokers that their habit could physically damage those who were merely inhaling smoke second-hand. Now that this has been demonstrated, some researchers are attempting to show that second-hand smoke can actually cause addiction. Dr. Mathieu Bélange published a recent study in Addictive Behaviors that presents evidence that second-hand smoke can indeed cause nicotine dependence.

Dr. Belange gathered 1488 children aged 10-12 who had never smoked. He had the children record the hours that they spent in a car with someone smoking, as well as answer long list of questions about daily habits and feelings.  5% of the children in this group reported one or more symptoms of nicotine dependence, such as withdrawal. There was a clear correlation between hours exposed and likelihood of reporting symptoms.

This disturbing correlation should serve as a warning for guardians who tell their children not to smoke but continue doing so themselves in their presence. In addition to the risk that children will do as you do, not as you say, it seems that there may be the risk of hooking a child on nicotine even if they manage to resist puffing their own cigarettes.




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