Parents' smoking worsens urinary problems in kids

June 7, 2012

Parents? smoking worsens urinary problems in kids

A new study has uncovered a link between secondhand tobacco smoke and bladder problems in children. The more exposure the children had, the more severe their symptoms.

Researchers from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Rutgers University presented their preliminary findings at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Atlanta, May 19-23, 2012.

They studied 45 children aged 4 to 17 years who presented with complaints of urinary urgency, increased urinary frequency, and incontinence. Parents of children aged 4 to 10 years completed surveys on exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and incidences of bladder problems in their children. Older children aged 11 to 17 years were surveyed separately.

Participants were assigned to 4 groups according to the severity of their symptoms: very mild, mild, moderate, or severe. Twenty-one children had very mild or mild symptoms; 24 had moderate or severe symptoms. None of the children with very mild or mild symptoms had mothers who smoked or were exposed to cigarette smoke when in a car.

Of those children with moderate or severe bladder irritation, 23% had mothers who smoked, and 50% were regularly exposed to cigarette smoke while in a car. Children aged 4 to 10 years were at greater risk of urinary problems from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Researchers say that their study did not prove cause and effect of secondhand smoke and bladder irritation in children, but in light of the known negative effects of smoking, clinicians should encourage parents who smoke to quit for the benefit of their children’s health.

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