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Tobacco use common in schools demonstrating poor academic performance

(Orlando, Florida, October 29, 2003) -- Students attending schools with poor academic performance ratings have a significantly higher rate of tobacco exposure and experimentation than students attending other schools, says a new study presented at CHEST 2003, the 69th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). The study found that inter-city children attending a district's lowest academic performing schools had a higher rate of tobacco exposure and experimentation than students attending other district schools. The study also found that children with asthma were more likely to experiment with tobacco and to be exposed to tobacco smoke than children without asthma.

"Tobacco use and asthma are more prevalent among poor and minority populations, most often found in inter-city areas," said lead researcher Salvatore Mangione, MD, FCCP, Associate Professor of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA. "If a child grows up in a household with smokers, that child is much more likely to experiment with tobacco. Tobacco exposure, whether active or passive, is a major trigger for asthma, and asthma is a known cause of absenteeism in children, which can, in turn, lead to worse academic performance."

Researchers from Jefferson Medical College examined the relationship between tobacco exposure and experimentation, and asthma prevalence among 6,727 middle school students attending 65 Philadelphia public schools. Of the students surveyed, 6,006 students attended schools managed by the Philadelphia School District (PSD), while 721 students attended the lowest academic performing schools in the PSD managed by the private organization, Edison, Inc. Overall, 23.7 percent of PSD children and 24.5 percent of Edison children reported having asthma. Among children with asthma, home exposure to environmental smoke was reported by 73.2 percent of Edison children and 64.5 percent o
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Contact: Arielle Green
agreen@chestnet.org
847-498-8387
American College of Chest Physicians
29-Oct-2003


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