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GHSU study: Many Augusta youth exposed to smoking

Friday, March 23, 2012 2:22 PM
Last updated Saturday, March 24, 2012 12:25 AM
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Nearly 80 percent of fourth-graders in Augusta are exposed to second-hand smoke and nearly 15 percent smoke themselves, according to research from Georgia Health Sciences University.

The research was presented this week in Singapore at the World Con­ference on Tobacco or Health. The study looked at 428 children from seven schools in Augusta and compared them to rural counterparts from seven schools in Burke, Jefferson, McDuffie and Wilkes counties. The study looked at levels of cotinine, a nicotine byproduct, in saliva to determine exposure and smoking rates, said principal investigator Dr. Martha S. Tingen, a professor and Charles W. Linder Chair in Pediatrics at GHSU.

Among those studied, 79.6 percent of Augusta children were exposed to second-hand smoke compared to 75.3 percent for rural school children, according to the study. That rate is consistent with previous exposure rates in her studies, Tingen said. Among Augusta children, 14.9 percent were smokers versus 6.6 percent for the rural children. Many of those Augusta children live in poverty-stricken areas where drug use is more prevalent, Tingen said.

“Tobacco use is just one of many things,” she said. Augusta children were more likely to have parents that smoked as well, with 31.1 percent versus 19.8 percent for rural parents, according to the study.

The study rates for children were slightly higher than those recently released in the Georgia 2012 Youth Tobacco Survey. For instance, of high school students that smoke, 10 percent said they started before they were 11 years old, according to the survey, and 6 percent of middle school students were current smokers. Of those middle school students, 60 percent said they bought cigarettes in a store in 2011 without being asked for proof of age, according to the survey.

Tingen is also studying more tailored interventions with children and parents that can help them develop skills for making better health choices. If those result in fewer kids or parents smoking, she hopes they can be implemented statewide.

“The current curriculum we are offering related to health can be improved dramatically,” Tingen said.


Results from a study of 428 children from seven schools in Augusta compared to rural counterparts from seven schools in Burke, Jefferson, McDuffie and Wilkes counties:

Exposed to second-hand smoke79.6%75.3%
Parents who smoke31.1%19.8%
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socks99 03/23/12 - 04:36 pm
Who funded Dr. Tingen's

Who funded Dr. Tingen's research? If the quantitative measures can detect very tiny levels of contaminants, does this mean they are harmful? Or is this more hysteria-stoking designed to push for the Prohibition of Tobacco use?

InChristLove 03/24/12 - 07:42 am
If a higher percentage of

If a higher percentage of parents in Augusta than the Rural area smoke (31.1% vs 19.8%) but the percentage of children exposed to second-hand smoke is about the same (79.6% vs 75.3%), does that mean that parents in Augusta are more cautious about exposing their children to second hand smoke?

scgator 03/24/12 - 07:58 am
I would like to see the

I would like to see the results of a survey on drinking alcohol among adults and teens; REALLY, alcohol brings a quicker "return" on its damage than cigarettes, but, it is not POPULAR to condemn alcohol abuse...............

itsanotherday1 03/24/12 - 08:03 am
ICL, I would say yes to your

ICL, I would say yes to your question.

allhans 03/24/12 - 09:16 am
Smoking at age 11.

Smoking at age 11. Considering the high cost of cigarettes some parents must be handing out some nice allowances.

A couple visiting at a local hospital said the wife buys a carton of cigarettes a week at something like 43.00 and change, while the husband buys a cheaper brand at this is per week!

csraguy 03/24/12 - 12:20 pm
I’m not a smoker and can't

I’m not a smoker and can't stand the smell of smoke, etc. However, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of propaganda that these "do gooders" will produce to push through new restrictive laws. If possible, they would have us all living in a bubble eating grass and drinking rain water.

socks99 03/24/12 - 05:39 pm
“It’s bad news,” said Dr.

“It’s bad news,” said Dr. Martha S. Tingen, Co-Director of Georgia Health Sciences University’s Child Health Discovery Institute and Interim Program Leader of the GHSU Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program. “Smoking is one of the major causes of low-birth weight infants, it increases the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by 10 times, increases breathing problems, asthma-related hospital admissions, ear and upper-respiratory infections, yet all these kids are living in a smoking environment.”

Tingen again repeats a spurious and unproven causality in re "sudden death syndrome." That's completely unverifed by any research: This tragic but rare occurence has long escaped an explanation; so the "banners" hang it on exposure to 2nd hand smoke.

Still, the media is refusing to report who funded her research.

Clearly, when scientists have a preconceived notion of causality, it may affect the quality and accuracy of their research.

As previously stated in another article, those advocating a "smoking ban" have decided to "educate" the public. They are trying to gin-up "fear" of 2nd hand smoke; I'd not put much stock in their facts or points, however.

They've taken it upon themselves to run rough-shod over the policy-making process and push for bans and high taxes in an attempt at backdoor prohibition. They'll not stop unless the public goes after their funding and professional reputations.

While smoking is bad for smokers, there remains no evidence that it is a significant health hazard for non-smokers. The banners want to scare the public with misleading correlations so they can institute a ban that, itself, is targeted at smokers and is not intended to protect non-smokers.

GaStang22 03/24/12 - 11:34 pm
Where is the link to the

Where is the link to the actual study???

Tom Corwin
Tom Corwin 03/26/12 - 11:55 am
Socks, Dr. Tingen's research


Dr. Tingen's research was funded by the National Cancer Institute. I am not sure why you would think that is relevant to the story because it would not affect the outcome of her research.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 03/26/12 - 12:07 pm
There have been many stories

There have been many stories where contradictory results in research have been correllated to the source of the research funding. In fact, those attorneys general who won the billions from the tobacco companies used that fact to cast aspersions on the results of research conducted by tobacco companies. No one really knows the truth of contradictory results.

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