Kids Of Parents Who Smoke At Home Miss More School | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Kids Of Parents Who Smoke At Home Miss More School

About half of adult smokers who live with young children say they don't smoke in the house. But that leaves the rest who do.

And the children of these at-home smokers --according to a study just published in the journal Pediatrics — are missing more days of school.

The study found that children living with a smoker in the house miss about one extra day per year. And if two adults in the house smoke, children miss 1.54 more days compared to kids from nonsmoking households.

Just about everybody knows that second-hand smoke increases the risk of respiratory ailments and asthma attacks, but it wasn't clear how illnesses related to smoking influenced absenteeism.

School absenteeism, as the study's authors note, is an easy-to-measure marker that can flag all sorts of illness. The researchers conclude that up to one-third of all missed school days by children of smokers can be attributed to the exposure of second-hand smoke.

"It was a surprise," says lead author Douglas Levy of the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital. "A good chunk of these kids missed-school days is just due to secondhand smoke exposure." In their analysis, the researchers adjusted the figures to account for differences in household income, education and several other factors.

The educational impact of these absences isn't entirely clear, but missed days can't be good. But, in any case, the financial toll is significant. When these children get sick working parents need to stay home. And that adds up to lots of lost wages — about $227 million a year — the researchers figure.

Levy explains that about half of the children living with a smoker are in low-income families, so the hardship for them could be significant. "If we could eliminate second-hand smoke exposure" says Levy. "It would help a lot."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

In Which Colin Firth Debunks Some Myths About Working With Woody Allen

Allen doesn't rehearse, and he isn't a big talker. But Firth pooh-poohs claims that he doesn't direct. He says Allen was a "very involved and meticulous director" while making Magic in the Moonlight.
NPR

Key Chain Blood-Alcohol Testing May Make Quantified Drinking Easy

Some of us now monitor our steps, sleep and calorie intake with wristbands and apps. So why not track blood-alcohol levels? We explore the next frontier in the self-measurement movement.
NPR

'I Love Your Country,' New House Member Tells U.S. Officials

Rep. Curt Clawson, a Republican from Florida, tells subcommittee witnesses from two U.S. agencies, "I'm familiar with your country; I love your country."
NPR

Bill Allowing Americans To Unlock Cellphones Passes House, Heads To Obama

The bill also directs the Librarian of Congress to review whether the exemption should also apply to tablets and other devices.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.