Smoking around children; The Facts
Second Hand Smoke and Children
Children who live with a smoker are essentially passive smokers. They are forced to breathe second-hand smoke in their own homes and in the family car if there are smokers around them. Research has shown that smoking outside does not decrease any of the risks associated with passive inhalation. Second hand smoke releases the same 4,000 chemicals as smoke that is directly inhaled, but in even greater quantity! Approximately 47 of these chemicals (carcinogens) cause cancer.
Let’s take a closer look at why there is a greater quantity inhaled with second hand smoke versus the smoker themselves.
- Cigarettes burn for approximately 12 minutes, but smokers usually only inhale for 30 seconds. This means that, for 11.5 minutes, cigarettes are spewing second hand (side stream) smoke into the air for those around to breathe.
- Because side stream smoke burns at a lower temperature than inhaled smoke, it contains:
- 2 times more tar, which gums up lungs and the breathing passage
- 5 times more carbon monoxide, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood
Health Risks of second hand smoke for children.
- cough and wheeze more than other children
- have more ear infections
- have reduced lung capacity
- have bronchitis and pneumonia more often
- make more trips to the hospital
- are more likely to develop asthma
- suffer more from asthma than non-smokers’ children who have asthma
Children of parents who smoke:
Over time, children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to:
- have a lower ability to take in and use oxygen
- develop cancers of the lung (Research on second-hand smoke and the relationship with other cancers is in progress)
- suffer from heart disease and stroke
Smoking and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
According to research, if a mother smokes before as well as after the birth, the risk rises. The more a baby is exposed to smoke after birth, the higher the risk. For example, babies whose parents smoke, even where the babies are never actually in the room where people are smoking, are twice as likely to die of SIDS as a baby of a non-smoker.