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How smoking affects kids

Scientists are now finding that children who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke from cigarettes are more prone to chest, ear, nose and throat infections. In fact, Canadian law has banned smoking in the car with your child in the back seat, and now more warnings are coming in about parents who smoke.

Two new studies find parents that smoke have different effects on their kids. A British study finds an association between smoking moms and mental health problems in their children. A Chinese study links smoking dads to weight problems in their young ones.

Dr. Allison Brindle did not take part in either study, but is a pediatrician at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.

"If Mom smoked while pregnant, those babies could go on to have some psychological problems and some socialization problems," she says. "Children whose dads smoked in the house or when Mom was pregnant, those children tended to have a higher body mass index or weight for their height."

Researchers say the results should generate a greater effort to promote tobacco cessation programs for parents. Dr. Brindle says it doesn't take a lot of cigarette smoke to impact a child.

"We've even had information on third-hand smoke, where a parent smokes away from the home and comes back and there's smoke on the clothes," says Dr. Brindle. "We know that children with asthma - even that third-hand exposure can cause problems."

Complete findings from both studies are in the journal, Pediatrics.

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