Kids’ Coughs a Casualty of Parental Smoking

From ABC News: Parents who smoke could be killing their child’s cough reflex – a natural defense against potentially unhealthy particles that enter the airway – new research suggested.
While the natural inclination may be to assume that kids in smoky households cough more, the new study, published Monday in Oxford Journal’s Nicotine & Tobacco Research, showed exactly the opposite.
A cough serves to help an individual clear his or her airway and protect the lungs from irritating chemicals, food, bacteria or smoke. These irritants normally trigger a cough reflex when they enter the airway.
Smoking adults are known to have an impaired cough reflex and, hence, a higher “cough threshold.” In other words, these individuals cannot cough until higher levels of irritating substances are in their airways. The question the researchers sought to address was whether the same principle applies to children.
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