Smoking has always been known to be a major risk factor for airway diseases, heart diseases and cancer. However, few people realize that second hand smoke or passive smoking also has adverse effects. Researchers have found that passive smoking has a long lasting impact on the airway and lungs especially, in children. In fact, it also causes a decline in lung function in older children.
Recently a study was conducted on 3,400 children (between the ages of 3-16 years). The levels of a component called cotinine (produced by the breakdown of nicotine from tobacco) were measured in the blood stream of all the children. The researchers found that passive smoking has a major impact on the respiratory system of younger children and that it also increases the risk of developing asthma and wheezing (a whistling sound which is most pronounced when an asthma patient breathes out).