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Secondhand smoke "could interefere with academic performance"

Teenagers exposed to secondhand smoke at home are more likely than others to fail school exams, new research shows.

A study of 6,380 pregnant women and children found that teenagers exposed to smoke at home were 30% less likely to pass exams than others.

But academic performance was not affected by children being exposed to secondhand smoke while in the womb.

"It's important that we help smoking parents learn how to reduce their children's exposure to secondhand smoke, a goal that can be achieved without requiring the parent to immediately quit smoking, although that's the ultimate goal for the health of the entire family," said lead study author Bradley Collins.

The study did not come up with any clues to why secondhand smoke seems to induce failure, however prior research has linked smoke to a higher risk of cognifitive defects, learning disabilities and impulsivity.

Researchers are now looking at how to limit the exposure of young children to secondhand smoke.

Temple University