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Study links hearing loss to secondhand smoke


Do you smoke or live with someone who does? Are there kids around? We're not asking because we plan on using some R-rated language. But we sure felt like it after seeing a new study showing yet another danger of secondhand smoke: It doubles kids' risk of hearing loss. Did you hear that!?

Add it to this nasty list of secondhand smoke threats to kids:

Babies are at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome, asthma and respiratory infections.

Young children are 167 percent more likely to have chronic, painful ear infections.

Boys are more likely to develop high blood pressure as adults, and to get the heart and kidney disease that can follow.

Pre-teens are more likely to become smokers themselves.

That's not all. Even if your kids are grown and gone, your other "babies" -- the four-legged ones -- also can get cancer, lung infections and respiratory problems from secondhand smoke. How to nix this health hazard? That's a no-brainer. Do not let anyone smoke in your home or near your kids (even the president or the speaker of the house -- just in case during a campaign swing, either tries to sneak a cig in your kitchen).

Work to eliminate smoke in public places, including near building entrances. It's a real danger, too. Kids from non-smoking homes who live in communities with public smoking bans have 39 percent lower blood levels of cotinine, a sign of tobacco exposure, than kids from counties without smoke-free laws. Fight for local smoking bans. They work!

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