THURSDAY, Aug. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — More than one-third of U.S. nonsmoking youth are exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS) from tobacco, according to an August data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Debra J. Brody, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues describe the prevalence of SHS exposure among nonsmoking youth in 2013 to 2016, as defined by serum cotinine.

The researchers found that 35.4 percent of U.S. nonsmoking youth aged 3 to 17 years were exposed to SHS from tobacco in 2013 to 2016. The percentage of SHS exposure was higher for children aged 3 to 11 versus those aged 12 to 17 years; exposure was similar for boys and girls. Compared with non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic youth, the percentage of non-Hispanic black youth exposed to SHS was higher (61.8 versus 34.3, 18.3, and 24.9 percent, respectively). With decreasing family income, there was an increase in the percentage of SHS-exposed youth. The percentage of SHS-exposed youth was more than three times higher for those living with two or more tobacco smokers versus those not living with a smoker.

“SHS exposure was detected in almost one-quarter of youth who did not live in a home with a smoker,” the authors write. “Programs and practices that restrict smoking in public and private spaces and declines in tobacco use help to limit youth exposure to SHS.”

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