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How does passive smoking harm children?

    Do you smoke? If yes, you probably know how smoking puts your health at risk. But have you ever thought how your smoking habit can affect even your kid’s health? Shocked to know this? Yes, if pregnant women are exposed to second-hand smoke, it may affect the fetal health. And when second-hand smoke can even affect the health of an unborn baby, it would definitely affect the health of the growing children.

    What does second-hand smoke mean?

    Second-hand smoke is referred as the smoke exhaled by a smoker and the smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe or a cigar. This type of smoke has higher concentrations of cancer-causing agents known as carcinogens. The small particles in the smoke make their way into the lungs and the cells of the body much easily.

    When people are exposed to second-hand smoke, it is known as involuntary smoking or passive smoking. And it is very shocking to know that non-smokers who breathe in second-hand smoke receive the nicotine and toxic chemicals the same way as smokers do.

    Where can children get exposed to second-hand smoke?

    If you are thinking that your children might exposed to second-hand smoke only because you have a habit of smoking, you are absolutely wrong. Children can be exposed to second-hand smoke in many places. Even if no one smokes at home, children can still be exposed to second-hand smoke. Following are some of the places where this may happen:

    • → In a car or on a bus
    • → At school
    • → At a babysitter’s home
    • → At friend’s or relative’s house
    • → Public places like restaurants, malls, parks or playgrounds etc.

    Health Hazards of Second-hand Smoke on Children

    As already mentioned, if a woman smokes when she is pregnant or when a pregnant woman is exposed to second-hand smoke, along with the mother, the baby is exposed to harmful chemicals as well. This leads to serious health problems to the baby including:
    • → Premature birth
    • → Low birth weight
    • → Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), unexplained death of a child within one year of birth.
    When children are exposed to second-hand smoke, they are at higher risk of serious health problems and the existing problems can become worse. The health risks and long-term effects for children when exposed to second-hand smoke include:
    • → Ear infections
    • → Coughs
    • → Respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia
    • → Tooth decaying
    • → Behaviour problems such as ADHD
    • → Lung cancer
    • → Heart disease
    • → Cataracts
    • → Poor development of lungs

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    How can you create a smoke-free environment?

    As now we have come to know how does second-hand smoke affects the health of children, here are few tips that may help to create a smoke-free environment which can lessen the chances of exposure to second-hand smoke for kids.
    • → If you or any member of your family smokes, quit the habit for the sake of your children. If children see someone smoking in their family, they might grow up to become smokers as well. So the first step to create a smoke-free environment is to quit smoking.
    • → Avoid allowing your children to places where smoking is allowed. Chemicals from the smoke can be found even days after smoking has occurred on the surfaces in the room.
    • → If you leave your child with a babysitter, choose one who doesn’t smoke. Even if the babysitter smokes outside, still your kid is exposed to second-hand smoke.
    • → As children spend most of the time in schools, choose child care centres or schools in which the outdoor areas and teacher’s lounges are tobacco free.