Smoking is not sexy: Exposure to second hand smoke is bad for a fetus and it’s bad for teenagers too: Researchers report that exposure to tobacco smoke nearly doubles the risk of hearing loss among adolescents (Come to think of it, Whitley’s parents were heavy smokers!)

Neuroscientist Anil Lalwani says, "More than half of all children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, so our finding that it can lead to hearing loss in teenagers has huge public health implications. We need to evaluate how we deal with smoking in public places and at home, as well as how often and when we screen children for hearing loss."

The dangers of secondhand smoke are well known. Living with a smoker raises the risk of dying from heart disease and lung cancer, and in children exposure to smoke exacerbates the severity of asthma attacks and causes more than 750,000 middle ear infections, according to the American Cancer Society. The new study is the first to link secondhand smoke to hearing loss.

Over 80% percent of the affected teenagers in a recent study were not aware of any problem, the researchers reported. "Milder hearing loss is not necessarily noticeable," says Dr. Lalwani. "Thus, simply asking someone whether they think they have hearing loss is insufficient." Affected children can have difficulty understanding what is being said in the classroom and become distracted. As a result, they may be labeled as "troublemakers" or misdiagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Why is it so darned hard to quit? When researchers exposed a test group and a control group of smokers to an emotional video depicting environmental damage, one group in the study expressed their natural emotional reactions (with no depletion of self-control) while the second group suppressed their responses (revealing self-control depletion). Half of the participants in each group were subsequently allowed to smoke a cigarette. Everyone then was asked to complete a frustrating task that required self-control.

Psychologist Bryan W. Heckman says, "Our goal was to study whether tobacco smoking affects an individual’s self-control resources. We found that smoking did have a restorative effect on an individual’s depleted self-control resources. Moreover, smoking restored self-control, in part, by improving smokers’ positive mood."

There’s no smoking at the headquarters of our wonderful Dreamland Festival, but there’s LOTS of good listening: You’ll hear INCREDIBLE NEW THINGS you’ve NEVER HEARD BEFORE. But don’t wait too long: We only have TEN seats left and we all want to see YOU there (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show and they get 10% off ticket prices too!)

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