Second-Hand Marijuana Smoke Linked to More Frequent Respiratory Infections in Children

Adam Barrett Johnson, MDChildren whose parents regularly smoke or vape marijuana may experience viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, as a result of second-hand smoke more frequently than those whose parents do not smoke, according to a study published in the journal Pediatric Research.

Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado surveyed 1,491 parents and caregivers who lived in Colorado where recreational and medicinal use of marijuana is legal. The researchers found that parents who regularly smoked or vaped marijuana reported that their, children experienced more viral respiratory infections in the year prior to the survey, compared to children whose parents did not smoke tobacco or marijuana.

“The negative impact that exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke can have on children’s health has been extensively studied, but the impact of second-hand marijuana smoke on young children is unclear,” said Adam Johnson, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine and corresponding author. “Our findings identify the potential for increased respiratory infections in children exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke. This could have significant health care implications as more states move toward legalizing recreational marijuana use.”