Nicotine levels higher in kids sleeping with smoking parents

Washington: A new study has suggested that babies who sleep in the same room as their smoker parents exhibit nicotine levels that are three times higher than those who sleep in a separate room.

It said third-hand smoke – harmful smoke particles that can stick to clothes, skin and furniture – is responsible for the elevated levels.

This is the conclusion of a study carried out in Catalonia, which also shows that ventilating bedrooms is not effective in reducing the levels of toxins from passive smoking.

"Passive smoking is the leading preventable cause of childhood death in developed countries", said Guadalupe Ortega, lead author of the research study.

Known as BIBE (Brief Intervention in Babies. Effectiveness) "the study highlights exposure to tobacco smoke among this very vulnerable age group in private spaces, where no specific programmes are yet in place", he said.

The study involved the participation of 96 primary healthcare centers in Catalonia.

The experts interviewed the parents of 1,123 babies (under 18 months of age), who had at least one smoking parent.

They analysed hair samples from 252 babies in order to determine their nicotine levels, and carried out follow-up visits three and six months later.

The parents`` statements largely coincided with the results obtained from the hair analysis – 73 percent of the adults said they smoked or allowed smoking in their homes, while 83 percent of the hair analysed showed up high nicotine levels.

The study is published in BMC Public Health.