Addiction experts say smoking is a habit more formidable than cocaine or heroin. Of the 46 million American adults who indulge, close to three-quarters of them say they want to quit, and nearly half of those hooked make at least one annual attempt to curb the habit. Yet even when their addiction confines them to tiny, dark rooms or takes them outside in sub-zero temperatures, dedicated smokers can’t seem to restrain their impulse to light up.
Cigarette smoking, once a symbol of glamour, sophistication and power, is now recognized as a harbinger of disease and death.
According to researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, secondhand smoke may be extremely damaging to children, even in minute amounts. Already known to cause respiratory and behavior problems in kids, smoking has now been linked to lowering a child’s intelligence — affecting reading, math and reasoning skills. In fact, one parent smoking as little as one pack a day may reduce a child’s IQ by as many as two points. Tobacco exposure was determined by measuring levels of cotinine, a marker of tobacco exposure, in the blood of more than 4,000 children ages 6 to 16.