In this day and age everyone knows that smoking is not good for you and that it adversely affects your health. But, still, not many parent’s take note of the effects that secondhand smoke has on their own children. Many moms quit smoking during pregnancy, but not many dads or partners do, and sometimes these moms who quit during pregnancy take up smoking again once their baby is born.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early or to have low birth weight—making it more likely the baby will be sick and have to stay in the hospital longer. A few babies may even die. Smoking during and after pregnancy is a risk factor of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Sep 29, 2017 CDC
According the UPMC Health Plan in Pittsburgh, the Surgeon General released a report titled The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke. This report detailed the following important findings:
- Babies exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Babies exposed to secondhand smoke have weaker lungs than other babies, which increase the risk for other health problems. If your baby was born prematurely, they already have weaker lungs than a full terms baby further increasing health risks.
- Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause pneumonia and bronchitis in infants and toddlers.
- Exposure to secondhand smoke causes children with asthma to have more frequent asthma attacks.
- Secondhand smoke affects your entire family causing coughing, wheezing, phlegm, and breathing problems in older children as well.
- Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at greater risk for ear infections and are more likely to need ear tubes. Children with frequent ear infections may be speech delayed and need speech therapy.
- There is NO safe level of secondhand smoke. The only way to protect your children is to STOP smoking in all indoor spaces, including your car. Secondhand smoke lingers in a room, so it is not even safe to smoke in your home when your children are not present.
If your child receives services through TEIS Early Intervention, you may remember at your first visit that your TEIS therapist reviewed our policy located on our Commitment to Valuable Sessions form:
TEIS No Smoking Policy: In accordance with the Clean Indoor Air Act, please refrain from smoking during our visits with your child. This protects our therapists as well as your child from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke.
The best advice for parents is to STOP smoking to protect their child’s and their own health. There are many resources available to help you quit. For free assistance and counseling you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Souces: UPMC Health Plan Newsletter Issue One 2018, www.cdc.gov, photo from smokingharms.com