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Kids’ Ear Infections Linked with Parents’ Smoking

A recent study suggests that ear infection and hearing problems in children are likely caused by their parents’ smoking. Led by Laura Jones of England’s University of Nottingham, the researchers estimated that around 130,000 of the nearly 2 million cases of middle ear infections in U.K. kids in 2008 are due to parents who smoke.


In addition, the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reported that about 293,000 incidents of frequent of ear problems in the U.S. are due to secondhand smoke in homes.


Kathleen Daly of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis conducts research on ear infections. She says that living with a person who smokes can put the child at high risk of having ear problems.


As pointed out by Dr. Michael Weitzman of the New York University Medical Center, the research also highlighted the mothers’ smoking habits, which affected and had a profound influence on the children’s health.


The researchers disclosed that children who live with a smoker are exposed to a 37-percent risk of getting middle ear disease that includes hearing problems and ear infections. The risk was higher if it was their mother who smoked – a 62-percent risk.


Moreover, having a mother who smokes can also increase the children’s likelihood to need surgery for middle ear disorders by up to 86 percent.


Tobacco researcher Dr. Joseph DiFranza of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester is worried about the increased risk for needing surgery. “Ear infections themselves are very common, but the surgery is not,” Dr. DiFranza said.


Parent’s smoking is also associated with asthma and allergy cases in children.





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