Over the past years, the consequences of smoking have become more and more
evident. Tobacco smoke contains about 7,000 chemicals, at least 69 of
which have been linked to cancers. That only affects the person physically
smoking, right? Wrong. Each time someone smokes, poisons such as benzene,
formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide are released into the air. This means
that those around the smoker are also inhaling these harmful substances.
Various studies have shown that secondhand smoke affects nonsmokers, causing
them to develop diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease. In addition
to an increased risk of diseases, secondhand smoke also irritates the
eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, leading to coughing, congestion, and reduced
Children are at an even greater risk to the harmful effects of secondhand
smoke. Because smoke inflames the airways causing them to fill with mucus,
children who are exposed have more difficulty breathing. In particular,
babies born to parents who smoke have a much higher rate of illness than
babies of nonsmoking parents. Smoking statistics show that second hand
smoke is associated with over 700,000 physician office visits for fluid
buildup inside the ear, and 7,500-15,000 hospitalizations for bronchitis
or pneumonia in infants and toddlers each year.
For children who have asthma, secondhand smoke is a powerful trigger for
an attack. Studies show that secondhand smoke contributes to up to 1 million
asthma flare-ups in children each year, and that emergency room visits
for asthma are more frequent for children of smokers.
It is important to see that smoking affects not only you, but the ones
you love. Protect your family’s health by designating your home
smoke free by ensuring that smokers stay outside away from open doors
or windows. Quitting smoking is hard process, but the lungs of little
ones thank you!