Despite all of the anti-smoking attention over the past decades, there's an issue that may still be ongoing within your employer groups today: second-hand smoke. Check out this recent article from My
Health Guide newsletter.
Secondhand Smoke Drives ED Visits for Teens
Teens who were exposed to any type of secondhand tobacco smoke were significantly more likely to visit emergency departments and to have more such visits, compared with unexposed controls, based on data from more than 7,000 adolescents.
Approximately 35% of U.S. teens spent more than an hour exposed to secondhand smoke in a given week, wrote Ashley L. Merianos, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati and her colleagues.
In a study published in “Pediatrics" magazine, the researchers conducted a secondary analysis of nonsmoking adolescents aged 12-17 years who had not been diagnosed with asthma and who were part of the PATH (Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health) study, a longitudinal cohort trial of tobacco use behavior and related health outcomes in adolescents and adults in the United States. The researchers reviewed three main measures of tobacco smoke exposure (TSE): living with a smoker, being exposed to secondhand smoke at home, and being exposed to secondhand smoke for an hour or more in the past 7 days.
- Overall, teens who lived with a smoker, had secondary exposure at home, or had at least 1 hour of TSE had significantly more emergency department and/or urgent care visits (mean ranged from 1.62 to 1.65), compared with unexposed peers (mean visits ranged from 1.42 to 1.48).
- Those who both lived with a smoker and had at least 1 hour of TSE exposure were significantly more likely to visit an ED or urgent care center.
- In addition, teens who lived with a smoker, had secondary exposure at home, and had at least 1 hour of TSE were significantly more likely than were unexposed peers to report shortness of breath, difficulty exercising, wheezing during and after exercise, and a dry cough at night.
The researchers also assessed other health indicators, and found that teens with TSE exposure were significantly less likely than were unexposed peers to report very good or excellent health and were approximately 1.50 times more likely than unexposed peers to report missing school because of poor health.
The results were limited by several factors including the use of self-reports of TSE and parent reports of emergency or urgent care visits, and by the inclusion only of other public use variables in the PATH database, the researchers noted. But they adjusted for potentially confounding factors such as household income level, parent education, and health insurance status. However, “Because adolescents are high users of EDs and/or [urgent care] for primary care reasons, these venues are high-volume settings that should be used to offer interventions to adolescents with TSE and their families,” they said.