Smokers' children breathe less easily

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The children of smokers have normal lung size, but their airways are smaller, making them more vulnerable to respiratory problems and more likely to be taken to hospital with breathing problems, according to new research.

The children of smokers have normal lung size, but their airways are smaller, making them more vulnerable to respiratory problems and more likely to be taken to hospital with breathing problems, according to new research.

A clinical study on the impact of passive smoking on infants and young children has shown that children less than three years old who are exposed to cigarette smoke have up to 20 per cent less lung function than those who are not exposed.

Dr Robert Castile, who presented the findings at the Paediatric Academic Societies and American Academy of Paediatrics conference in Boston yesterday, said new equipment had allowed researchers to identify how young children were being affected. "In the current study, a new type of infant lung function testing device was used ... this enabled us to better define the impact of second-hand smoke exposure."

The study tested 80 children and found that the airways of exposed infants were smallerbut the size of the lungs was not affected. "This affects how fast they can move air in and out, makes them more vulnerable to respiratory problems and more likely to end up hospitalised with viral lower respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia," Dr Castile said.

Lung function was reduced by about 15 to 20 per cent in infants born of smoking mothers.

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