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A new Spanish study found that children exposed to tobacco smoke at home are twice as likely to have attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) than are children who are not.
The association between secondhand smoke and ADHD was even stronger if the child was exposed to more than an hour of secondhand smoke per day. Adjusting for the parents' mental health and other factors did not change the study's results.
“We showed a significant and substantial dose–response association between (secondhand smoke) exposure in the home and a higher frequency of global mental problems,” the authors write. The CDC says that two out of every five children in the U.S. are exposed to secondhand smoke regularly.
The study analyzed data from the 2011 to 2012 Spanish National Health Interview Survey which included 2,357 parents of children aged four to twelve. About 7 percent of the children involved were exposed to less than an hour of secondhand smoke daily and 4.5 percent were exposed for over an hour.
The study is limited, researchers caution, due to its "single point in time" look rather than an over time approach and thus does not prove causation. The purpose of the study, the researchers say, was to establish a probability of causation in order to elicit more study into a possible connection between secondhand smoke and ADHD.
The study was published on Tobacco Control at the end of March.
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