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New York Times cites UC research in story about second-and thirdhand smoke

Health columnist Jane E. Brody quotes University of Cincinnati professors as she makes the case that parents should keep their children out of places smoking is permitted

Research penned by University of Cincinnati faculty members inspired The New York Times personal health columnist Jane E. Brody to write about the ongoing threat posed by second- and thirdhand smoke to the health of children exposed to them.

In "The Risks to Children From Adults Who Smoke," Brody makes the case that children should be kept away from places where smoking is permitted, even if no one is smoking at a given time. 

A portrait of Ashley Merianos

Ashley Merianos

"Wise parents should keep their children out of any environment where smoking is allowed, even if no one is smoking there at the time," Brody writes. "The reason? Growing concern about the potential harms caused by exposure to the nicotine and other tobacco toxicants in thirdhand smoke that linger in the environment long after the smoke is gone."

Brody's argument relies on published research by UC faculty members about the effects of chronic tobacco exposure on children in both the short and long term. First she cites the work of Dr. E. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens and colleagues at UC, published in March 2017 in Tobacco Control. Mahabee-Gittens and company discovered that the residue from secondhand smoke accumulates on smokers and the surfaces in the vicinity of where they smoke, and that those toxicants can easily get on children's hands and into their bodies.

She also quotes human services professor Ashley L. Merianos, whose research published recently in Pediatrics finds that as little as one hour of exposure to secondhand smoke per week can have a significant impact on the health of adolescents. 

Brody is among the most prominent health writers in the world, having served in her role as personal health columnist for The New York Times since 1976. Her widely read column appears in The Times' Science Times section and in numerous newspapers across the country. 

Teens exposed to just one hour of secondhand smoke per week are: 1.5 times more likely to find it harder to exercise; 2 times more likely to experience wheezing during or after exercise; 2 times more likely to have a dry cough at night; 1.5 times more likely to miss school due to illness

A research powerhouse

The University of Cincinnati is classified as a Research I institution by the Carnegie Commission, and is ranked in the National Science Foundation's top 35 public research universities. UC's graduate students and faculty investigate problems and innovate solutions with real-world impact. Learn more about advanced degrees at UC.

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