Youth exposure to tobacco smoke in cars decreases

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 20, 2012

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Secondhand smoke exposure in cars among teenagers has declined in the past decade, but more needs to be done to protect them from the potential negative health effects of tobacco smoke, says a study published online Feb. 6 in Pediatrics.

In 2009, 30% of the teens rode in a car during the previous week with someone who was smoking, compared with 48% in 2000. Fewer nonsmokers reported such exposure in 2009 (23%) than in 2000 (39%), the study showed (link).

Researchers examined tobacco-related data on teenagers who participated in the National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009. Participants, who were in 6th through 12th grades, were asked how often they rode in a car in the previous week with someone smoking cigarettes. Individuals with a response other than zero days were classified as having been exposed to secondhand smoke.

The study's authors recommend that communities and states expand comprehensive smoke-free policies to prohibit smoking in motor vehicles occupied by youths.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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