Shocking impact of passive smoking on young children highlighted in New Zealand study

Shocking findings in a new study show young children who have parents who smoke can have nicotine levels so high, they may as well be smoking themselves.

The study, by the University of Otago Christchurch analysed hair samples of hundreds of young children. The data collected eliminated the reliance on parents accurately reporting how much they smoke on a daily basis.

What they found, was irrefutable evidence that passive smoking had a huge impact on some of the 500, 15-month-old children in the study group.

Lead researcher and paediatrician Dr Philip Pattemore says: "The families who smoked, the nicotine levels in the children's hair it was significantly higher, some of them up as high as adults who smoked".

Twenty per cent of the mothers in the study smoked during pregnancy, half smoking throughout the entire pregnancy, and a third of the children were exposed to cigarette smoke in their homes.

Dr Pattemore says: "I think a lot of parents if they understood what was happening to their children as a result of the smoke wouldn't want a bar of it. I certainly hope that would be the case".

Children with high nicotine readings are twice as likely to have wheezing or asthma. That's why new mum Emma Fossey is so relieved to have quit four months into her pregnancy.

"If she did have anything like that in the future it would definitely make me feel guilty, that it was my fault, so I'm glad I stopped."

The study, funded by the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation is being welcomed by Asthma and Respiratory Foundation's Dr Adrian Trenholme.

"This is an important study and it reinforces what we know about smoking if you like. It's firmer scientific evidence smoking has a big impact on respiratory illness in kids," Dr Trenholme says.

Now it's hoped this evidence will increase funding to help parents stop smoking.

Dr Pattemore says: "It's not that we're trying to judge parents about doing it, it's just that we want to help them. We desperately want to help them to help their kids stay well."

The study found youngsters whose parents smoke can have nicotine levels so high they may as well be smokers. Source: 1 NEWS



Q+A Business Podcast Episode 10: The state of NZ's fast growing tech industry

In this week's Q+A Business Podcast Corin Dann interviews NZTech boss Graeme Muller about the state of New Zealand's fast growing tech industry.

TVNZ1’s Q+A host Corin Dann interviews NZTech boss Graeme Muller this week. Source: Q+A

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Automated phone scam claims to be DHL with goods for you but all they really want is your personal information

Police are warning of an automated phone scam in which the caller claims to be DHL with goods for the person who answers and then asks for personal information.

Police say they have received a number of calls reporting the scam.

The automated call is in a Chinese accent claiming to be from DHL said Senior Sergeant Charles Ip.

The automated call tells the phone user that DHL has goods waiting for them and that they need to press nine to talk to somebody to discuss and if they press nine the call goes to a person who will ask for personal information.

These calls follow a spate of similar scam calls reported around November last year pretending to be from the Chinese Embassy, in which people were called by a number, seemingly identical to that of the embassy, and asked to provide personal information, Senior Sergeant Ip said.

If you believe you may be on the receiving end of one of these calls, police advise:

  • Hang up immediately.
  • If it doesn't seem right, be cautious and double-check details first.
  • Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions.  Your personal details are very valuable to scammers, they will use your details to take out loans or run up debts if they can.
  • Be aware of common scams.  For example, banks, Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue never email, call or text customers to ask for money to be sent using money transfer services. If you receive a request like that, it's a scam.
  • Don’t trust anyone who calls you and asks for your financial related information, such as your account details and password. 
  • Simply hang up, call them on their published contact 0800 number or arrange a meeting at the relevant agency branch.
  • If you have been targeted by a scam, report it immediately by visiting Consumer Protection's Scamwatch website.
  • Anyone who believes they are a victim of any crime, in person or online, should report the matter to their local police.
  • Netsafe also provides helpful advice and information.
A person uses a landline telephone.