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The Effects of Secondhand Smoke

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by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough

You may have heard about the work done in Pennsylvania and Virginia documenting the damage caused by secondhand smoke. The research is based around some amazing technology. It’s called a helium-3 diffusion MRI.

Researchers studied smokers and they found that one in three non-smokers, with high levels of exposure to second-hand smoke, had shown lung damage similar to that of a smoker. This is crucial because children are very susceptible to these harmful effects. Thirty-five percent of US children living in homes where regular smoking occurs are exposed to this.

Clearly, we’ve learned in the past that it affects asthma and other health problems, but now we’re learning more about the effects, in other ways. We have to use this information to make a difference.

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