Infants and toddlers in low-income, rural areas may be at higher risk for second- and third-hand smoke than previously reported, according to new Penn State-led research.
As many as 15 percent of children tested had levels of cotinine, a byproduct formed when the body breaks down nicotine, comparable to those of adult smokers. About 63 percent of children in the study had detectable levels of cotinine, suggesting widespread exposure to smoke. The study appears in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
“This is one of the first studies to explore the risks of very young children, especially infants, for second- or third-hand exposure to smoking,” said Lisa M. Gatzke-Kopp, professor of human development and family studies and lead author of the study. “Our findings suggest that moving frequently, having more adults in the home, and spending less time in center-based, daycare facilities may increase a child’s exposure to smoke or smoke residue.”