Secondhand Smoke Strikes Kids' Lungs

Study says childrens' hospitalizations offer chance for intervention

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TUESDAY, Jan. 7, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Many children hospitalized with respiratory illnesses suffer from secondhand smoke exposure caused by their parents' smoking.

Now, a study by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers says those hospitalizations can be an ideal opportunity to talk to parents about how dangerous their smoking is to their children and to help them quit. The study appears in the January issue of Pediatrics.

During the four-month study, parents of children admitted to hospital with respiratory illness were invited to take part in a smoking cessation program that included an initial interview, written educational material, nicotine replacement therapy, phone counseling, and referral to their own family doctor.

There were 71 smoking parents who took part in the program. Of those, 80 percent completed all the counseling sessions, and 56 percent used the nicotine replacement therapy.

After two months, half the parents reported making an attempt to quit smoking that lasted at least 24 hours, and 20 percent reported sustained tobacco abstinence.

At the two-month point, 27 percent of the parents reported they were still using nicotine replacement therapy and 38 percent had talked with their family doctor about quitting smoking.

The researchers feel the study findings indicate this group of parents is receptive to messages about the dangers of smoking.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about secondhand smoke.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, Jan. 6, 2003

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