WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of nicotine in
the hair of infants who sleep in the same room with parents who
smoke are three times higher than in babies who sleep in another
room, a new study finds.
The nicotine is from cigarette smoke particles that impregnate
the parents' skin, clothes and hair, which is known as "thirdhand
smoke," the Spanish researchers explained.
The investigators analyzed hair samples from 252 babies younger
than 18 months and interviewed their parents about their smoking
habits. Seventy-three percent of the parents said they smoked or
allowed smoking in their homes, and 83 percent of the babies' hair
samples showed high levels of nicotine.
The study also found that cigarette smoke toxins are still
present in homes even when parents try to take action to protect
their children's health, such as smoking by a window, ventilating
bedrooms after smoking, or smoking when the baby is in a different
room or not in the house.
"Passive smoking is the leading preventable cause of childhood death in developed countries," lead author Guadalupe Ortega said in a Plataforma SINC news release.
The study is published in the journal
BMC Public Health.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how
secondhand smoke harms children.