Only a quarter of parents who smoke adopt a strict smoke-free car policy, says the researchers at the Centre for Child and Adolescent Health Research and Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston, United States.
The study, which analysed the smoking behaviour of nearly 800 parents, also found that two out of three parents with strict smoke-free home policies do not carry it through to their cars. Nearly three-quarters of smoking parents admitted that someone had smoked in their car in the last three months.
"We've seen that a high number of parents don't smoke in their homes and expected the same kind of [behaviour] in cars, so we were shocked and surprised," said study author Dr Emara Nabi-Burza. "Parents think putting down the windows is fine. They don't think of it as an indoor exposure for children, which is where we need to step in and make people aware."
Ongoing research continues to find more evidence of the negative impact of secondhand smoke on children, including worsening of asthma symptoms and greater odds of respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome and ear infections.
In a HealthDay News report, Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said it was important for parents not to smoke in cars even if the children weren’t present, as tobacco smoke residue – or "thirdhand smoke" – is also harmful.
"Fabrics obviously absorb a lot of these toxic components. Just because no one's in there smoking doesn't mean all the harmful [components] disappear," McGoldrick said. "The best thing to do as a smoking parent is to quit smoking. If they're not ready to quit yet or not able to succeed, then adopt smoke-free policies for your home and car."
Source: HealthDay News