LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The latest research on second-hand smoke may be hard to take-in for many parents. One new study finds that kids who live in apartments have a greater risk of exposure to tobacco smoke's chemicals and carcinogens.
"I think we have to get away from this idea that we want to stop second-hand smoke exposure because it's a nuisance. It's a health risk, a danger. It's a poison," said Dr. Sid Roberts with Smoke-Free Lufkin.
Roberts is working with Smoke-Free Lufkin to raise awareness and push for a ban on smoking in public.
"That restricts smoking in restaurants, bars, public places, businesses completely," said Roberts.
The group is re-focusing efforts to protect people from the chemicals and carcinogens from tobacco smoke. At greatest risk from passive exposure: children.
A recent study has shown that kids who live in apartments are exposed to more second-hand smoke than kids in houses. That's fueling health professionals belief that just because the smoke has cleared doesn't mean the chemicals have.
Experts say these studies show that components of tobacco smoke can seep through walls, then be absorbed by furniture and carpet; making exposure almost impossible to avoid.
Dr. Rima Kittley says she sees the effect of tobacco smoke in kids all the time. Ranging from repeat ear infections, upper-respiratory infections and asthma flair-ups.
"Absolutely every child that comes in with an ear infection I ask the parents whether they smoke... A lot of times the answer is yes and that's not good," said Kittley.
Pediatric and family nurse practitioner Sunnie Hooten goes as far as telling parents who smoke to change their clothes, before being around children.
"The whole family will reap the benefits of just one parent or both parents stopping," said Hooten.
Kids have the least control over second-hand smoke, and that's why Dr. Roberts and others are standing behind smoke-free Lufkin's efforts to end exposure completely.