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Roswell Park Researcher Echoes New Study on Harm from Second-Hand Smoke

By Jillian Bannister

Buffalo, NY – Research has shown that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke during childhood may increase the risk of lung cancer later in life. Now, a new study published in the "British Medical Journal" reinforces that.

It suggests children exposed to "passive smoking" for many hours on a daily basis face more than three times the risk of those who grew up in smoke-free environments.

Dr. Michael Cummings of Roswell Park Cancer Institute says that childhood exposure to smoking is linked to serious health problems throughout their lives.

"Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are much more likely to have respiratory problems, and they're more likely to have pneumonia early on in their life," Cummings said. "Those kinds of conditions -- asthma and pneumonia -- early in life are also risk factors for having a serious lung disease later on in life as an adult."

Cummings says that it doesn't take that much smoke exposure to cause serious damage in some children and adults. He says the best way to prevent smoke-related health problems is not to expose children to tobacco smoke in the first place.