If your kid is getting exposed to passive smoking by someone at home or the neighbourhood, it is time to ring the alarm bell.
A recent study has found out that exposure to passive smoking during childhood years can lead to an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis later in life.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet.
The study goes on to add that in smokers who had childhood passive exposure to smoke were 1:73 times more susceptible to this disease in comparison with non-smokers not exposed during childhood.
Smoking has also been found to be associated with increased progression of structural damage to the spine in patients with ankylosing spondylitis – a painful, progressive and disabling form of arthritis caused by chronic inflammation affecting the spine and large joints.
Smoking leads to the formation of new bony growths (known as syndesmophytes), the researchers say.
A study was recently done by the Community Medicine Department of the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, India. It was conducted by Dr Shishupal Singh Thakur, Dr Anupam Parashar, Dr DS Dhadwal and Dr Anjali Mahajan.
The study was based on interviews of 2,864 schoolchildren of both rural and urban schools.
Of the total males interviewed in the age group (13-19 yrs), 24.9 per cent, and out of total females, 8.9 per cent had used tobacco at least once.
The study found that that 35.1 per cent of the school children surveyed were exposed to passive smoke at home. And 85.9 per cent of them perceived the second-hand smoke to be harmful.
Dr Anmol Gupta, Head of the Department of Community Department, IGMC says that it is estimated that people who smoke have approximately twice the risk of both mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and active tuberculosis. “However, data on the impact of smoking on treatment outcomes among patients with active tuberculosis is limited,” he said.