Children of parents who smoke are at risk of being exposed to high levels of nicotine. This happens when kids come in contact with items or surfaces contaminated with tobacco smoke residues, discovered researchers.
The findings showed that the children's hands contain high levels of nicotine even when parents are not smoking around them and sheds new light on dangers of third-hand smoke.
"Parents may think that not smoking around their child is enough, but this is not the case. These findings emphasize that the only safe way to protect children from smoke exposure is to quit smoking and ban smoking at home," said Melinda Mahabee-Gittens from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital in the US.
For the study, published in the BMJ journal Tobacco Control, the team involved 25 children.
Researchers found that the presence of significant nicotine on the hands of children was associated with equally significant levels of the harmful tobacco metabolite cotinine in their saliva.
Exposure to these contaminants causes health problems such as respiratory and ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma attacks, and other ailments in infants and children, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.