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Smoking-Related Illnesses in Kids Costly

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WASHINGTON, Jun 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A U.S. report released Thursday finds treating children for smoking-related illnesses costs the nation nearly $304 million a year.

The American Legacy Foundation -- responsible for anti-tobacco programs such as the truth campaign and Circle of Friends -- released a report in Washington detailing the health and economic effects of secondhand smoke.

The report found tobacco was responsible for more than 26,000 low birth weight cases, 263 cases of sudden infant death syndrome, 300,000 asthma cases and more than 99,000 cases of ear infection in young children in 2001.

About $236 million is spent for smoking-related asthma cases and another $49 million for ear infection. The report shows if states worked to reduce children's exposure by 1 percentage point each year nearly $27 million could be saved in low birth weight cases and more than $15 million for asthma cases.

"We're hoping through the media to accelerate the rate of quitting attempts," ALF President Dr. Cheryl Healton told United Press International. "In effect, we will get more people to actually quit (through public education)."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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