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Non-smoking students still exposed to secondhand smoke in vehicles: study

February 8, 2012

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Washington – More than one-fifth of non-smoking middle school and high school students were exposed to secondhand smoke in vehicles in 2009 – this despite a “significant” decline in exposure in the past decade, according to a study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers reviewed data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey between 2000 and 2009. They found that the percentage of non-smoking students exposed to secondhand smoke in a vehicle declined to about 23 percent in 2009 from 39 percent in 2000, and secondhand exposure for smokers declined to 75 percent from about 82 percent during the same time period, according to the study abstract.

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that secondhand smoke has been linked to severe respiratory infections as well as asthma. Researchers recommended that businesses and schools expand smoke-free policies to include motor vehicles occupied by child passengers.

The study was published online Feb. 6 in the journal Pediatrics.

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