Secondhand Smoke and Our Children

Reports show that nearly 60 percent of children between the ages of 3 to 11 are exposed to secondhand smoke. That is almost 22 million children. Secondhand smoke is responsible for disease and premature death in children. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases a child’s risk of dying from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It also increases the chances of developing acute respiratory infections, severe asthma, ear infections, and slows lung growth.

Young children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are being exposed to the same cancer causing substances and poisons as smokers. Since their bodies are still developing and growing they are especially vulnerable.

Babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant or who are exposed to secondhand smoke after giving birth have weaker lungs than unexposed babies, which increases the risk for many health problems. It can cause bronchitis, pneumonia, and children with asthma may also experience more severe attacks.