Secondhand Smoke Robs Vitamin C from Children

Children exposed to the most cigarette smoke have the lowest levels of vitamin C in their blood – regardless of how much fruit and vegetables they eat or the vitamins they take – according to a study of nearly 3000 children published in the March 2001 issue of Pediatrics.

Tobacco smoke contains free radicals – a cause of both disease and aging. Here, “an apple a day” doesn’t do the trick.

Kids use up their stores of vitamin C trying to protect themselves from the smoke. But it is not enough.

Secondhand smoke is implicated in sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, heart disease, cancer, and many infections (2 million ear infections alone, each year in the US).

Most parents understand that smoke harms kids, but one-fifth of parents surveyed still allow people to smoke around their children!

Published on: March 13, 2001
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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