The Danger of Passive Smoking in Children

Every passive smoker is at risk with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Unfortunately it is not just adults who are at risk to the adverse effects of passive smoking. Passive smoking children and newborn babies are particularly at risk too. ETS causes the maximum damage to fetuses, infants, and small children by damaging their developing organs.

You may have heard that pregnant or expectant mothers are advised to quit smoking as it causes harm to the fetus. Young children and toddlers are especially sensitive to the effects of secondhand smoke, due to the fact that their bodies are still growing and developing and they breathe faster then adults and therefore may inhale more smoke. Passive smoking children are a lethal combination. Children are affected the maximum due to second hand smoke, especially when it happens at home.

All the organs of a child are in the development stage, and breathing second hand smoke can mainly impair the proper development of their lungs and brain. Children exposed constantly to second hand smoke tend to develop childhood asthma which could get worse with further exposure. Sinusitis, cystic fibrosis, and chronic respiratory diseases get worse when a suffering child is forced into passive smoking. Other diseases that are caused due to passive smoking and can be very difficult for small children to cope with are bronchitis and pneumonia.

Research has shown that passive smoking children, who grow up in a smoky household, where one or both parents smoke, have twice the amount of respiratory and lung disorders, and in some cases they even have to be hospitalized. These children are usually absent from school more often than children who grow up in a smoke-free home and some studies have even suggested that children who are exposed to passive smoking are more likely to have behavioral problems and that they may not develop mentally as quickly as other child.

The risk of passive smoking children can cause low birth weight for gestational age, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – children whose mothers during pregnancy have an increased risk of SIDS. The EPA estimates that passive smoking is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 of these infections in children under 18 months annually.

Asthma- According to the EPA, between 200,000 and 1,000,000 kids with asthma have their condition worsened by secondhand smoke every year. Also, passive smoking children may also be responsible for thousands of new cases of asthma every year. Asthma is a severe breathing disorder that is caused by the lungs not working to their full potential. When a person suffers an asthma attack they can experience shortness of breath, coughing, pressure or tightness in their chest, or wheezing and in children these symptoms can be much worse. Children with asthma also suffer more frequent attacks if they are exposed to tobacco smoke in the home.

As we have seen the numerous passive smoking effects, one should be equally careful about it, the same way as one is aware of cigarette smoking. Smoking is banned in most of the parts of the world. In other parts, it is banned in enclosed places like restaurants, theaters, or other public places, in order to avoid the risks of passive smoking.

On the other hand, smokers can help a lot for the prevention of passive smoking children. Smokers should never smoke at home or in cars. This should be strictly followed especially if there are children at home. Although, it is always better to stop smoking, but if smokers cannot overcome smoking, they should do it outdoors, in open places. This way, the risk of passive smoking can be greatly reduced.