facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Secondhand Smoke Kills Kids' Cough Reflexes

Research finds smoke weakens a child's cough reflex, which is vital to protecting the lungs.

Image: 

Kids need to cough. Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

08/21/12

| Share

Secondhand smoke can impact a child's vital cough reflex, new research finds, which could affect an estimated 18 million US youth ages 12-19, and 60% of children ages 3-11, who are consistently exposed to cigarette smoke. The new study, which appears in Tobacco and Nicotine Research, followed 38 healthy 10-17 year-olds, 17 of whom were regularly exposed to smoke and 21 who were never exposed. The children were then made to inhale concentrations of capsaicin—the chemical in chili peppers that will trigger a cough—from a nebulizer. Though adult smokers are known to have a less sensitive cough reflex compared to non-smokers, parents were also tested by measuring how much capsaicin it took to make the adults cough twice. The study found that the youth who were exposed to secondhand smoke needed twice as much capsaicin to trigger a cough reflex as compared to the non-smoking exposed kids, and the findings were mirrored in the parents. This means that the children exposed to smoke were less sensitive to environmental irritants: “Cough protects our lungs from potentially damaging environmental threats, such as chemicals and dust,” says study lead Dr. Julie Mennella, from Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “Living with a parent who smokes weakens this reflex, one of the most vital of the human body.” The study may help explain why diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis are more common among children of smokers. According to study co-author Dr. Paul Wise: “This study suggests that even if an exposed child is not coughing, his or her respiratory health may still be affected by secondhand smoke,” 

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Helping My Wife Survive Childhood Sexual Abuse

My wife revealed to me that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather. The process of healing has been difficult, but together we are working towards her recovery.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv