Second-hand smoke could be the reason behind 274,000 cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities.

The scientists at Harvard School of Public Health claim passive smoking increases the odds of developing common mental health and behavioural problems by 50 per cent.

Looking at a sample size of 50,000 results, they found that six per cent of under-12s were exposed to passive smoking at home - the equivalent of five million children. They then found that these children were 50 per cent more likely to develop learning disabilities, ADHD or another disorder. They were also 50 per cent more likely to suffer from two separate disorders, or to have undergone counselling.

Writing in the journal Pediatrics, the team said: "Assuming a causal relationship, 274,100 excess cases of these disorders could have been prevented had the children not been exposed to second hand smoke in their homes."

They claim the findings could help ease the burden on children's mental health services.

Posted by Robert Mair on 12.7.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com 

 ADHD Smoking