According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most middle and high school students (11-18 year olds) in the United States, who have never used tobacco, have been exposed to second hand smoke, a worrying number for this age group of never-smokers.
These statistics have been cited from the 2013 CDC National Youth Tobacco Survey, which featured in excess of 18,000 adolescents in grades 6 to 12 in public and private schools around the country. The information came through the students’ questionnaires that they completed in regards to whether they used tobacco products including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco and hookahs. The study evaluated second hand smoke exposure by querying students on whether they had been around someone in the last seven days who smoked tobacco in their home, at school or other locations. The survey didn’t ask whether they had been around people who were using e-cigarettes.
Amongst the adolescents who had recorded never using tobacco, a significant 48% had been exposed to second hand smoke in the past week. The most frequent places for exposure were public areas, including parks and restaurants, which made up around 35% of study participants reported exposure. A further 17% and 27% were exposed at school and work, respectively. While only 15% were exposed in their home and another 15% in cars, these locations were the most common places recorded for daily second hand smoke exposure.
“The findings reinforce that second hand smoke is still a problem in this country. Half of middle school and high school students are exposed to something we know is harmful to their health and is completely preventable,” said Brian King, deputy director for research translation in the CDC Office on Smoking and Health. King led the research, which was published on Monday in the journal Paediatrics.