Secondhand Smoke and Kids: Know the Facts

Cigarette smoke is host to a staggering number of chemicals that are known to cause cancer. But, many parents don’t realize just how harmful secondhand smoke can be — especially to small children.


Secondhand Smoke and Kids


With a smoker in the family, it isn’t enough for that person to smoke in another room of the house or in the vehicle but with the window open. If you can smell cigarette smoke then it’s in the air, along with over 7,000 chemicals that your children will breathe in. Regular exposure to secondhand smoke can negatively affect the health of children with just as much tenacity as if the child had been directly smoking.


Secondhand smoke has been proven to not only cause lung cancer, but it has been linked to a number of different cancers, such as larynx and brain cancer in adults and leukemia, liver and brain cancer, and brain tumors in children.


While, admittedly, cancer is on the extreme -though very possible- end of the spectrum, there are a number of other negative health factors that children can experience as a direct result of exposure to secondhand smoke. These include:


  • frequently being sick, especially with respiratory ailments and lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • frequent ear infections
  • asthma, shortness of breath, frequent coughing and wheezing


However, the dangers of secondhand smoke to children are easily preventable. It just requires a bit of diligence and effort on the part of parents. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:


  • Never smoke around your children. Remember, if you can smell smoke then you are being exposes to over 70 known cancer causing chemicals in the air. Smoking in another area of the home is not enough. If you must smoke, take it outside and away from your kids.
  • If there are children in the vehicle with you, do not smoke -not even with the window open. Some of that smoke will remain in the car where it will breathed in by your children.
  • When visiting friends and family with small children, hold off smoking before visiting. It may be difficult, but cigarette smoke will be trapped on your clothes. That small amount of smoke is enough to exasperate health problems in small children and the elderly, especially if they suffer from respiratory ailments or have particularly fragile health.


Of course, as a parent, if you do smoke, the best option for protecting your family from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke is not quit smoking. There are a number of options available to help you quite, including patches, gum, medication, and even free support groups. For more information to help you quit smoking successfully, call the free helpline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW