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April 4, 2011

Could Secondhand Smoke Exposure Harm the Mental Health of Children?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, Institute for Global Health, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(4):370-372. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.21

More than 4 decades have passed since the first population studies showed that exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) harmed the health of children. Since then, an ever-lengthening list of adverse effects has been causally linked to SHS. The 2006 Report of the Surgeon General provides the most recent systematic review; the adverse consequences causally linked to SHS exposure of children included sudden infant death syndrome and diverse respiratory outcomes.1 The evidence related to SHS exposure and cognitive and behavioral development was reviewed and found to be inadequate for drawing any inferences, echoing the finding of the article by Eskenazi and Castorina.2