As many as two-fifths of never-smoking teens are exposed to secondhand smoke worldwide, a recent study has revealed.
The study at the University of Texas Medical Branch estimated the prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure worldwide among teens who had never smoked, and found that one third of those teens are exposed to secondhand smoke inside the home.
Lead author Phani Veeranki said that they need to protect never-smokers from being exposed to secondhand smoke as the negative health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are well known.
The data show that 90 percent of teens who have never smoked know about the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure and 79 percent support smoking bans in public places. Interestingly, these teens have higher rates of secondhand smoke exposure, suggesting that knowing about the dangers of smoking has a limited impact on the teens' behavior since they are not always able to avoid smoking environments.
Veeranki added that they found that the odds of secondhand smoke exposure for never-smoking teens exposed to both parents and peers who smoke is 23 times higher than that of never-smoking teens who don't have smokers often around them.
Veeranki continued that their findings provide evidence for policy makers and public health professionals about the need for smoke-free environments in places frequented by teens worldwide.
Veeranki said that an effective approach to reducing exposure inside the home is to educate parents about the potential benefits of smoke-free households and to make sure that parents who smoke understand that they are putting their children at risk.
The study is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.