>>> The News: JAY KAY!
By staff writer Amir Blumenfeld
January 5, 2005

The real news (for boring people)
The breakdown (for college people)

Secondhand Smoke Lowers Kids' Math, Reading Scores

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Kids and teenagers exposed to even trace amounts of secondhand smoke score lower on tests of reading and reasoning, according to new research.

They also score lower on “not coughing.” Which is like, a totally not fair subject to put on standardized tests.

Overall, up to 33 million children and teenagers in the U.S. may be exposed to enough secondhand tobacco smoke to affect their reading ability, making this a huge public health issue, study author Dr. Kimberly Yolton of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio told Reuters Health.

This is especially true for students who “read with their lungs, not with their eyes,” as they are instructed to do by inept teachers who smoke in classrooms.

“That's an enormous amount of children,” she said in an interview. “We really need to do a better job of making sure they have clean air to breathe, so they can reach their fullest potential.”

What happened to “a pack a day keeps the doctor at bay”? Somebody is changing his/her ideology!

During the study, Yolton and her colleagues asked 4,399 kids between the ages of 6 and 16 to complete reading, math and reasoning tests. The researchers also checked their blood for cotinine, a substance created when the body breaks down nicotine, thereby serving as a marker for exposure to tobacco smoke.

Ugh God, you're SO CLOSE, just ask 4,400 C'MON!!! I'm sorry, I'm obsessive compulsive and it shows.

Cotinine scores were typically higher in African-American kids, and in those who shared a home with at least one smoker.

Oh, so it's not that secondhand smokers are dumb, it's that black kids are dumb. WE ALREADY KNEW THAT SILLY! Hahahahaha, just kidding guys, my best friend is black. No he's not.

The researchers found that children with more cotinine in their blood tended to score lower on the reading, math and reasoning tests. And the higher the cotinine levels, the lower were their scores, the authors note in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

When asked to find a link, a group of chain smoking researches said there was none.

Moreover, even trace amounts of cotinine in blood appeared to lower kids' test scores in reading and reasoning.

As well as breeding and treasoning. Quite sad really.

Yolton explained that the amount of secondhand smoke kids inhale depends on many variables, including ventilation and how close they are to smokers, making it difficult to equate cotinine levels with a specific number of cigarettes smoked.

Where did ya come from where did ya go? Where did ya come from Cotinine Joe?!

However, she said that she and her colleagues saw decreases in reading scores from cotinine levels associated with living in a house with a smoker who consumes less than one pack per day.

You hear that? So if you smoke you might as well go two packs a day or more. It's better for you. Or at the very least: NOT WORSE.

Just why tobacco smoke may influence kids' test scores is also unclear, she added. Research in animals suggests that smoke can alter the structure of the nervous system, Yolton said. It also makes sense that breathing tobacco smoke may deprive kids of oxygen, she noted.

“Also, something about lung cancer. I mean, dead people can't read, am I right?”

“When we breathe (cigarette smoke) in, it takes the place of oxygen that we need to let our brains function well,” Yolton said.

So I guess they CAN'T read the warning labels. *Drumroll*

Although kids are mostly exposed to cigarette smoke at home, older kids spend more time outside of the home, and parents who want to limit kids' exposure to secondhand smoke should find out if their friends smoke, or if they hang out in smoky places, the researcher noted.

So that ping-pong table you set up in the chimney isn't such a good idea. Or the basketball court you built and set on fire and demanded they played a full court game on, also a bad idea.

“When they leave the house, we have to think about ways to protect them,” she said.

*Cocking her gun*