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Exposure to second hand tobacco smoke at home and child smoking at age 11 among British children with and without intellectual disability

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number3
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)274-281
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/12/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English



The exposure of children to second hand tobacco smoke (SHS) is a well-established risk factor for a range of adverse health conditions in childhood and later life. Little is known about the extent to which children with intellectual disability (ID) may be exposed to SHS. Our aim in this study was to estimate the risk of childhood exposure to SHS and early experience of smoking among children with and without ID in a nationally representative cohort of British children.

Secondary analysis of data extracted from the UK's Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative sample of over 18 000 UK children born 2000–2002.

Children with ID are significantly more likely than their peers to be exposed to SHS and to have themselves experimented with smoking by age 11. Controlling for between-group differences in socio-economic position eliminated the increased risk of exposure to SHS and significantly attenuated, but did not eliminate, increased risk of experimenting with smoking by age 11.

Levels of exposure to SHS among children with ID are typical of those of families of children without ID living in similar socio-economic circumstances. The results lend no support to the hypothesis that increased rates of parental smoking may be associated with any additional ‘burden of care’ experienced by parents of children with ID. Nevertheless, it will be important to ensure that evidence-based interventions to reduce exposure to SHS are tailored to the specific needs of families supporting children with ID (e.g. through the provision of disability-friendly child care arrangements).