Children ‘exposed to passive smoke risk having MS’

Children ‘exposed to passive smoke risk having MS’

Children ‘exposed to passive smoke risk having MS’

Children who are surrounded by smokers are under a serious risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a Turkish doctor.

“Studies in this field prove that children living in a family of smokers and who are exposed to it as passive smokers are under a three-fold higher risk of being an MS patient,” said Prof. Hüsnü Efendi, the head of the Turkish Neurological Society from Turkey’s Kocaeli University, on May 30.

MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The cause of MS is still unknown, but scientists believe the disease is triggered by an as-yet-unidentified environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond.

There are 60,000 MS patients in Turkey, while the global figure stands at 3 million, the professor said at an Istanbul meeting, noting that the lack of sufficient exposure to sunlight is also a risk factor since vitamin D increases resistance to the disease.

Separately, the World Health Organization (WHO) hailed on May 30 on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day that smoking had declined significantly since the year 2000, but warned that there were still far too many people indulging in the dangerous habit.

It cautioned that research showed there was “a serious lack of knowledge” about the different health risks associated with tobacco.

Tobacco use has been linked to more than 7 million deaths worldwide each year, including some 890,000 from breathing in second-hand smoke.

“Most people know that using tobacco causes cancer and lung disease, but many people aren’t aware that tobacco also causes heart disease and stroke — the world’s leading killers,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

According to a new WHO report on smoking trends and prevalence, the percentage of people worldwide who indulge in the habit dropped from 27 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2016.

Due to population growth, the number of smokers in the world has remained relatively stable at around 1.1 billion.