Protecting Your Children From Secondhand Smoke

In the United States alone, smoking has been named the single most preventable cause of early deaths. Around four hundred thousand Americans die because of cigarette smoking yearly. And approximately three thousand non-smokers acquire lung cancer and die because of second hand smoke.

Second hand smoke
Second hand smoke is a combination of the smoke emitted by a burning cigarette, pipe or cigar, and the smoke exhaled from smoker’s lungs. This smoke lingers in the air hours after the cigarette has been put out. Continued exposure to second hand smoke can cause a variety of ill effects to your health. It has been proven as a cause of lung cancer, other respiratory tract infections, and ear infection for children.

Second hand smoke and its effects
Children of different ages are the most common victims of second hand smoking. In most cases, they are exposed to it at home, sometimes even before they’re born. It is during pregnancy and childhood that a baby’s organs start developing. Exposure to second hand smoke during this period of growth may seriously deter proper development of the lungs and brain, among other vital organs.

A growing fetus inside a smoking woman’s womb may have an increased risk of having birth defects such as cleft lip and palate, and low birth weight. Certain instances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) have also been noted to have been attributed to maternal smoking. Studies have shown that infants who have died of SIDS have higher nicontine concentration in their lungs as compared to infants that have died of other causes. It has also been reported that breast milk production decreases for smoking mothers.

A recent study has linked second hand smoking to middle ear infection or otitis media. This is more common in children who’ve had continuous exposed to second hand smoke during the first three years of life. The inhaled second hand smoke may cause an irritation to the Eustachian tube which connects the back of the nose to the middle ear. This irritation may cause swelling and obstruction of the Eustachian tube, which then causes an imbalance of pressure equalization in the middle ear. This may cause fluid retention and infection in the middle ear which can be very painful to a child. If diagnosed and treated early it is totally curable, but if treatment is delayed, it could even lead to a permanent hearing ability reduction.

Little kids often acquire childhood asthma because they are exposed early to second hand smoke, and it worsens with continued exposure. Aside from asthma, children may also develop sinusitis, cystic fibrosis, and chronic respiratory diseases with continued inhalation of second hand smoke. Kids affected by second hand smoke may also have difficulty coping with bronchitis and pneumonia.

The best way to avoid giving your child all these complications is to quit smoking. It will not only benefit your body by getting rid of the nicotine in your system, it will also help your children and future children live a healthier life as well. If you really have difficulty quitting smoking, avoid doing it in an enclosed area, or any place where there is a large concentration of people, and never do it near your children. Always take into consideration that you’re not only responsible for you own life, but for other people’s well being as well, especially those you love most.