First secondhand smoke, now secondhand harm from drinking

It’s no secret that university life often includes alcohol use, which can sometimes cause harm. Yet harm can also extend beyond the drinker, such as “secondhand harm” that is caused by intoxicated people: accidents or domestic, physical, or sexual violence; interrupted sleep or property destruction; and arguments, problems with relationships, or financial problems. Prior research suggests that more than 70 percent of college undergraduates have experienced harm from other students’ drinking. This study examined the prevalence and types of secondhand harm among Canadian undergraduates, and whether certain personality risks for alcohol use disorder — impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity — can predict secondhand-harm exposure.

Researchers administered an online survey to 1,537 first-year Canadian undergraduates (two-thirds of whom were women) during 2015. Problematic alcohol use was measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and personality was measured by the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS). The 11 secondhand-harm choices given to students ranged from “interrupted your studies” to “sexually harassed/insulted you.”

Full story at Science Daily

Kids’ Teeth Affected by Secondhand Smoke

In a study published in The BMJ today, researchers found that exposure to secondhand smoke as an infant as young as 4 months is associated with increased risk of tooth decay at age 3, according to Medical News Today.

Preventing tooth decay in young children tends to focus on restricting sugar, supplementing with oral fluoride and fluoride varnish. However, studies suggest that secondhand smoke plays a part in the development of cavities, which can result from a number of factors that include physical, biological, and environmental and lifestyle.

A big part of oral health is the acquisition of Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), that produce acids from the sugar one consumes, dissolving the hard enamel coating on teeth. The age of highest risk for these bacteria is at 19-31 months.

Full story of kids teeth health and secondhand smoke at drugfree.org

Share of U.S. Nonsmokers Exposed to Secondhand Smoke Declined by Half Since 2000

The share of American nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke fell by half since 2000, from 53 percent to 25 percent, according to a new government report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said during the period studied, a growing number of states and municipalities banned smoking in restaurants, bars and offices, and the number of Americans who smoked at home fell. The smoking rate has also declined, and smoking is now less acceptable in public, The New York Times reports.

An estimated one-fourth of American nonsmokers are still exposed to secondhand smoke, the CDC said. Secondhand smoke causes 41,000 deaths from lung cancer and heart disease, as well as 400 deaths from sudden infant death syndrome, according to health experts.

Full story of secondhand smoke decline at drugfree.org

Smoke-Free Homes Have Doubled in 20 Years

The number of smoke-free homes in the United States has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC study found 83 percent of homes were smoke-free in 2010-2011, compared with 43 percent in the early 1990s, Reuters reports. More than 90 percent of homes without a smoker and almost half of those with at least one adult smoker did not allow smoking in the home, the study found.

“It’s a shift in social norms,” said lead study author Brian King. “People no longer see smoking around non-smokers as socially acceptable behavior.” Secondhand smoke from cigarettes continues to kill an estimated 41,000 non-smokers each year, he noted. “We know there is no safe level of secondhand smoke. The ultimate goal is to not expose people to a known carcinogen.”

Full story of smoke free homes at drugfree.org