Enjoy debates? There is a good one going on right now, but you have to hurry to join. The topic: ” Smoking around/with children is child abuse.” The debate “assumes that the parent is an average smoker who smokes in the car, home, etc.” The Instigator: JeremyMcNamme (don’t know if that is his real name or not, and it does not matter). But if you want to join the debate, you have 1 day 04 hours and 48 minutes.
His view is that smoking around children is a form of child abuse, and he cites a web definition that child abuse is “the physical or emotional or sexual mistreatment of children.” He uses a wikipedia definition of secondhand smoke. But secondhand smoke is actually two parts.
The first part is “sidestream” smoke which comes from the lighted end of a cigarette, from a pipe or cigar, according to the American Cancer Society. The second part of secondhand smoke is “mainstream” smoke which is exhaled by the smoker. The sidestream smoke is the most dangerous. It has smaller particles, and has higher concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals, over 250 toxic or cancer-causing chemicals. It also contains nicotine.
People who breathe in this secondhand smoke are doing so involuntarily. They simply can’t get away from it. If you smoke in your house, the secondhand smoke disperses throughout every room. It travels through heating ducts, gets into the carpeting, coats the walls, and lands on furniture and toys. If you smoke in the car, even with windows open and air conditioning on, you are exposing your passengers to high levels of toxins in a smaller space.
A study by British researchers to measure smoking pollution levels in cars found that, “passengers were exposed to air pollution levels that exceeded the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines.” The WHO recommends levels below 25 μg/m3, (the concentration of an air pollutant given in micrograms, one-millionth of a gram, per cubic meter of air) to be considered safe. While the interior pollution levels in the smokers’ cars were found to average 85 μg/m3, or three times the safe level, some of the “peak levels of pollution averaged about 385 μg/m3”, or 15 times higher than the safe level. The pollution in one smoker’s car reached as high as 880 μg/m3, or 35 times higher than the safe level. Driving with the windows closed can raise peak levels to the range of 3,000-4,000 μg/m3. Concentrations above 250 μg/m3 are considered “hazardous” under the U.S. EPA’s Air Quality Index.
Children breathe at a higher rate per minute than adults. An infant between birth and one year breaths an average of 30-60 breaths per minute, versus an adult at 12-20 breaths per minute. Each time a child breathes they are taking in harmful chemicals and nicotine into their bodies. Nicotine increases their heart rate and blood pressure. “Secondhand smoke exposure causes acute lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia in infants and young children, and respiratory symptoms, including cough, phlegm, wheeze, and breathlessness, among school-aged children,” according to the Surgeon General of the U.S.
There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke for adults, let alone children whether in a home or a car. If someone said you were breathing in cancer-causing toxins, you would do everything you could to eliminate your exposure. Why would your child’s health be any different?
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