Adults smoke for many reasons, like stress relief, for pleasure or in social situation. Whatever the reason may be smoking may develop into a lifelong habit that not only affects the smoker but also the people around them.
The smoke exhaled from a cigarette contains about 4,000 chemicals. Many of these chemicals are dangerous and more than 50 are known to cause cancer. Anytime a child breathes in secondhand smoke they are exposed to this.
If you smoke or is exposed to an environment that is prevalent with secondhand smoke, your developing child could be exposed to the harmful chemicals too. This may lead to:
- Premature birth
- Sudden infant death syndrome
- Learning problems and attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
Children have a high risk of developing:
- Ear infections
- Coughs and colds
- Respiratory problems such as bronchitis and pneumonia
- Tooth decay
When exposed to secondhand smoke your child has a harder time getting over colds and may miss more school days.
We can protect our children from secondhand smoke by:
Setting an example: If your child sees you smoking they may have the perception that is it ok to smoke. They may also be curious to experiment with smoking as there are cigarettes at home.
Make your home smoke free: Until you can quit, don't smoke inside the home or anywhere near your children. Air flows around the home so smoking in one room will allow for the smoke to travel to other areas of the house.
Make your car smoke free: Opening the windows while smoking will allow airflow in the car but will also blow the smoke into the backseat right into the faces of your passengers.
Support tobacco-free initiatives: Help out in any tobacco-free initiative run by the school. Get your children involved as well setting a good example from them.