Secondhand smoke

If you are around anyone who smokes, STOP. Did you know that you are inhaling secondhand smoke? Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smo given off by burning cigarettes, pipes and cigars. You are also inhaling the exhaled smoke from the lungs of smokers; it lingers in the air hours after the cigarette has been put out. Secondhand smoke can cause cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma..

If you are a parent and you smoke, please choose to not smoke in your home or car, and do not allow family and visitors to smoke either. Infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to the health risks from secondhand smoke.

Secondhand Smoke and Its Effect On…

Your Children: The developing lungs of your children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke for several reasons: (1) Your children are still developing physically; (2) they have higher breathing rates than adults; (3) they have little control over their indoor environments. Children receiving high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those with smoking mothers, run the greatest risk of damaging health effects.

A fetus and newborn: Maternal, fetal, and placental blood flow changes when pregnant women smoke. Although the long-term health effects of these changes are not known. Some studies suggest that smoking during pregnancy causes birth defects such as cleft lip or palate. Smoking mothers produce less milk, and their babies have a lower birth weight. Maternal smoking also is associated with neonatal death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the major cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age.

The Ears: Exposure to ETS increases both the number of ear infections a child will experience and the duration of the illness. Inhaled smoke irritates the Eustachian tube, which connects the back of the nose with the middle ear. This causes swelling and obstruction, which interferes with pressure equalization in the middle ear, leading to pain, fluid and infection. Ear infections are the most common cause of children’s hearing loss. When they do not respond to medical treatment, the surgical insertion of tubes into the ears is often required.

The Brain: The children of mothers who smoked during their pregnancy are more likely to suffer behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, than the children of non-smoking mothers. Modest impairment in school performance and intellectual achievement has also been demonstrated

Source: American Academy of Pediatric Otolaryngology and The American Lung Association!

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