Researchers say exposure to secondhand smoke may lower levels of antioxidants in children.Scientists studying 2,000 children and teens found that the higher their blood level of cotinine, a byproduct of metabolizing tobacco smoke, the lower their level of antioxidants.
Health experts say antioxidants help protect the body against cell damage.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said children are especially vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke because they are still developing physically, with higher breathing rates than adults.
Secondhand smoke causes some 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmokers, and can trigger asthma in children, as well as increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
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