A recent study has shown that children, who are exposed to smoke, as a reason of having parents who smoke at home, are likely to have impaired vitamin C levels. Earlier studies have however, revealed the same results in smokers.
The study, which involved 520 children aged 2 to 12 years, who were exposed to smoke at home were found to have plasma ascorbate concentrations that were lower by an average of 3.2 micromoles per litre than unexposed children. Both these groups of children had consumed the same amount of Vitamin C and researchers found that even with very low exposure, this reduction occurred.
Smoke can reduce concentrations of ascorbate, an important blood antioxidant. Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is one of the strongest determinants of total antioxidant defense. Although the difference of ascorbate concentrations in the two groups was small, researchers say the overall effect may be substantial. Though researchers do not have sufficient data to recommend a required amount of vitamin C for children regularly exposed to smoke, they suggest that children exposed to smoke consume increased amounts of foods rich in vitamin C or be given the equivalent amount of the vitamin as a supplement.
Smoking and smoke exposure also pose potential risks for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and pulmonary diseases.