Alcohol use, secondhand smoke pose particular risks for kids

October 1, 2008

Two separate studies have outlined the dangers of drinking alcohol before age 15 and secondhand smoke at home, respectively.

Two separate studies have outlined the dangers of drinking alcohol before age 15 and secondhand smoke at home, respectively.

In a study appearing in the December Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers analyzed data from a three-year longitudinal study of 22,316 American drinkers 18 and older. The investigators found that participants who started drinking before age 15, and to a lesser extent those who began drinking between the ages of 15 to 17, were more likely to have alcohol dependence as adults than participants who did not start drinking until they were 18 or older.

In a separate study appearing in the September Addictive Behaviors, 1,800 children ages 10 to 12 answered questions about nicotine dependence symptoms and secondhand smoke exposure. The researchers found that parents who smoke around their children in cars and at home was linked to an increased likelihood of children reporting symptoms of nicotine dependence, despite the fact the children had never smoked themselves.