Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yet another reason not to smoke.

Attribution: Justin Shearer

When I was living in the rural America my father and I had a Saturday morning tradition. We would get up, go outside to our porch, stare at the endless corn fields and smoke a cigarette together. This tradition began when I was 16. My father and mother have been off again on again smokers my entire life. I’ve seen my parents go years without a cigarette just to follow it up with smoking a pack a day (me and my family are like that; we’re all or nothing types of people). So it would kill me to show them this study.

One recent study, done by Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, shows that there are chemicals in cigarettes that can affect a child’s mental development. There is a chemical in human blood called cotinine. High concentrations of cotinine correlate with both adolescent exposure to second hand smoke and mental issues such as depression and ADHD.

I’ve been diagnosed with both disorders. ADHD when I was 5 and Major depression when I was 14. I remember countless smoke-filled “grown-up” parties when I was a child. If my parents had seen this study when I was younger, and given my family hereditary, would they have still smoked?

The answer is no, but not without some grievance.

Yet, this is only one study that I’m skeptical of. For one it doesn’t address first-hand smokers nor does it mention how many kids they pooled. The children tested from 8-15 were all non-smokers, but what about kids that age who are smoking? How are they affected mentally by cigarette use. Also, cotinine isn’t explained thoroughly. The study just says cigarettes increase the levels in your blood, but what else can increase cotinine levels? It can’t just be cigarettes. I believe there are many factors that are not addressed and that should be addressed before this study is seen as scientifically legitimate.

-M. Harriett-

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