Smokers love their children. Some gripping facts emerge about those same children.
Good parents are concerned with good medical attention during pregnancy. They plan the new baby's arrival with anticipation and joyful expectation. If they are smokers, they were most likely told that they would probably give birth to tinier babies. Many people heard that, but so what ? Tiny babies are sweet and cuddly, others told them. For years, that was all anyone knew. Deeper implications were not elaborated upon. Was that alarming or did it even make them feel uneasy? Judging from the number of people who continued to smoke, , probably not. Scare tactics were familiar approaches used to motivate people to stop smoking. So what if their children would not be giants? They might be a little shorter in stature than some, but they would still fit in and be none the worse for wear, wouldn't they? Now, however, some startling facts are emerging.
Those same caring parents greet the new baby with joy, love and pride. They watch its every move, its every small development and nurture it so carefully. They listen to medical advice about giving the baby supplements. As the babies grow, they switch from liquid to chewable vitamin tablet supplements, maybe even the colorful ones made in friendly familiar shapes. The parents want happy and healthy children. They pay attention to diet and nutrition. Non-smoking parents act very much the same.
Then, however, the children of both of these parent groups are paired in a research study and they respond to the necessary criteria. Dr. Richard Strauss of the University of Medicine of New Jersey heads the study. The children's blood is tested for Vitamin C levels. 3 000 such children ranging in age between four to eighteen years of age take part. This study would compare levels of Vitamin C in the children's blood levels.
The results released in April 2007 were startling and alarming: Some children averaged 20 percent less Vitamin C in their blood than others, some even less, despite vitamins and good diets!
Two significant things emerged in the results. The first was that the children whose parents smoked in the home were the ones who had 20 percent less Vitamin C in their blood. And the more cigarettes the parents smoked in the home, the lower the level of Vitamin C was found in their children's bloodstreams. The second surprising discovery was that some of the children of non-smoking parent who should have had normal levels of Vitamin C actually didn't. Their levels were also 20 percent lower, but they were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke. That is one huge difference.
Note it's not genetics that causes the depletion of Vitamin C, but the smoke itself, from the burning tobacco. Free radicals are produced in our bodies, and the antioxidant Vitamins A, C, E, are the ones that hunt out the free radicals and destroy them. Not only does smoke cause an increase in free radicals, but it also attacks the scavenger of free radicals, making our bodies ripe for diseases or all kinds.
The University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine conducted a study on the ability of Vitamin C to combat disease and its results were also released. The risk of death was halved among those who had higher levels of Vitamin C in their blood, compared to those of lower levels. “The relation with mortality was continuous through the whole distribution of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) concentrations, " the scientists were quoted in The Lancet. They reaffirmed that Vitamin C is an antioxidant that destroys free radicals in the body.
For smokers, it's now clear that smoke rising from an ashtray is the culprit in the lowering of the children's level of Vitamin C. It's also apparent that smoking parents will have to reconsider the harm they are actually doing to their children by smoking in the home or allowing their children to be exposed to tobacco smoke.
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