Secondhand Smoke and Children
Exposure to Secondhand Smoke May Lower Children's IQ
Medical Author: Melissa Stöppler, M.D.
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR
A study shows that children who are exposed to tobacco smoke in the home may have lower IQs than their unexposed peers.
Despite mounting evidence about the perils of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure in children, 40% of children in the United States are routinely exposed to secondhand smoke, termed environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), in their own homes. ETS has already been definitively linked to a number of medical problems in children, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), colic, middle ear disease, worsening of asthma symptoms, and other respiratory problems. Research has also begun to suggest that ETS may be neurotoxic, or damaging to the nervous system, with potential effects on the development of intellect and reasoning skills in children.