Montreal, September 29, 2008 – Parents who smoke cigarettes around
their kids in cars and homes beware – second-hand smoke may trigger
symptoms of nicotine dependence in children. The findings are published
in the September edition of the journal
Addictive Behaviors in a joint study from nine Canadian institutions.
exposure to second-hand smoke, both in cars and homes, was associated
with an increased likelihood of children reporting nicotine dependence
symptoms, even though these children had never smoked," says Dr.
Jennifer O'Loughlin, senior author of the study, a professor at the
Université de Montréal's Department of Social and Preventive Medicine
and a researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal.
findings support the need for public health interventions that promote
non-smoking in the presence of children, and uphold policies to
restrict smoking in vehicles when children are present," adds Dr.
O'Loughlin, who collaborated with researchers from the Université de
Sherbrooke, the Université de Moncton, the University of British
Columbia, McGill University, Concordia University and the Institut
national de santé publique du Québec.
Study participants were
recruited from 29 Quebec schools as part of AdoQuest, a cohort
investigation that measures tobacco use and other health-compromising
behaviours. Some 1,800 children aged 10 to 12 years old, from all
socioeconomic levels, were asked to complete questionnaires on their
health and behaviours. Researchers also asked questions about symptoms
of nicotine dependence and exposure to second-hand smoke.
to conventional understanding, a person who does not smoke cannot
experience nicotine dependence," says Mathieu Bélanger, the study's
lead author and the new research director of the Centre de Formation
Médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick of the Université de Moncton and
Université de Sherbrooke. "Our study found that 5 percent of children
who had never smoked a cigarette, but who were exposed to secondhand
smoke in cars or their homes, reported symptoms of nicotine dependence."
O'Loughlin added that this inter-university investigation builds on
previous findings: "Exposure to second-hand smoke among non-smokers may
cause symptoms that seem to reflect several nicotine withdrawal
symptoms: depressed mood, trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety,
restlessness, trouble concentrating and increased appetite."