If you think your kids are safe from secondhand smoke, think again. According to a recent study involving 428 children and 453 parents from public and private schools, your kids may not be as protected from secondhand smoke as you would like. In fact, traces of a nicotine breakdown product were found in the children’s saliva.

In interviews with the participants, researchers were able to conclude that children in urban settings were more exposed to smoke (79.6 percent) than children in rural environments. With more than 75 percent of fourth-graders reportedly exposed to secondhand smoke, it’s clear that campaign efforts against smoking--or, at least, smoking in the presence of children--are not enough.

Apart from secondhand smoke, however, what is more alarming is the number of children who have tried smoking themselves. According to the study, urban-raised children were more likely to smoke (14.9 percent) than rural-raised kids (6.6 percent). In fact, kids as young as 10 years old have admitted to trying a cigarette at least once.

How do you know if your kids are smoking or not? Sometimes, a simple conversation (not a confrontation) with them can yield honest answers.

(Photo by Mel B. via Flickr Creative Commons)

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