The dangers of secondhand smoke to children

What exactly is secondhand smoke?

This is the term used by doctors to describe the smoke inhaled by people who smoke. Secondhand smoke is also known as “environmental tobacco smoke.”

Is secondhand smoke harmful to children’s health?

Yes. Secondhand smoke from people smoking in the home has been shown in studies to cause health problems in children. These issues are exacerbated if both parents smoke.

What kinds of health issues can secondhand smoke cause in children?

Secondhand smoke increases the likelihood of children developing the following health issues:

Coughing, coughing up mucus, or wheezing are examples of breathing symptoms (noisy breathing)

Lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, can be especially dangerous in infants and young children.

Asthma – Asthma is a lung condition that makes breathing difficult. It does not always cause symptoms. When symptoms worsen, children may wheeze, cough, or feel a tightness in their chest.

Infections of the ears

Hearing impairment (later in childhood)

Children who were exposed to secondhand smoke as children are more likely to develop: Asthma

Other cancers besides lung cancer

Cardiovascular disease

Furthermore, children who grow up with smoking parents are more likely to start smoking themselves.

What if my child already suffers from asthma?

If your child already has asthma, secondhand smoke can aggravate or worsen their symptoms. Furthermore, secondhand smoke causes children with asthma to require more asthma medications or to visit the hospital more frequently.

Can secondhand smoke harm an unborn child? Yes. If a woman (who does not smoke) lives in a home with secondhand smoke, her baby is more likely to be born weighing less than normal.

What complications can arise if a woman smokes while pregnant?

Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a miscarriage, which occurs when a pregnancy ends prematurely before the baby can live outside the uterus.

When a woman smokes during her pregnancy, her baby is more likely to: be born too soon; not grow as much as it should in the uterus; and be born with a health problem.

Later death from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – SIDS occurs when a baby dies suddenly during sleep for no apparent reason.

Is it sufficient to simply create a smoke-free zone in my home?

No. If you want to improve your child’s health, you should make your entire home smoke-free. You should also make your car smoke-free. Making a smoke-free room or smoking at home only when your child is not present will not suffice. To use an air cleaner will also not help.

How should I go about quitting smoking?

Consider the letters in the word “START” if you want to quit smoking. They can assist you in remembering the following steps:

S = Determine a quit date.

T = Inform your family, friends, and those around you that you intend to quit.

A = Prepare for the difficult times you’ll face while quitting.

R = Get rid of cigarettes and other tobacco products in your home, car, and workplace.

T = Consult your doctor or nurse about getting help to quit smoking.

Your doctor or nurse can assist you in a variety of ways. They can: Refer you to a counsellor – A counsellor can help you figure out what triggers your smoking and what you can do instead.

Prescribe medications to assist you in quitting smoking – Some medications reduce your desire to smoke. Others alleviate the unpleasant symptoms (known as “withdrawal symptoms”) that occur when you stop smoking.

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