Zero tolerance for secondhand smoke around children

Photo via Health Day

Photo via Health Day

If someone asked to borrow your child to conduct a science experiment on the effects of poisonous gases on young children, you would probably call the authorities and report them.  Yet millions of kids in the U.S. and throughout the world are living with a smoker, usually a parent, and breathing in toxins on a daily basis in homes and cars. The medical outcomes of this exposure can result in pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, asthma, and chronic coughs, while long-term outcomes can include decreased lung development, early heart disease and a shortened life expectancy.   Just recently the American Heart Association came out with a statement recommending “zero tolerance” when it comes to tobacco smoke exposure around children.

What makes secondhand smoke so bad is the number of toxins present in the smoke: more than 7,000 compounds, with 250 chemicals known to be harmful and over 70 known to cause cancer.   Secondhand smoke is so dangerous that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified it as a known human carcinogen.  That doesn’t seem to stop some family members from exposing their children to secondhand smoke.

It is estimated “24 million nonsmoking children and youths are exposed to secondhand smoke in the U.S.”  Even with declines in adult smoking, nearly 41% of these children, age 3-11, and 34% of children 12 to 19, are still exposed to smoke on a daily basis.  Low-income children and minority youth are at an even bigger disadvantage.

You may be able to smell the lingering effects of secondhand smoke or even see it in the air, but you do not see the “immediate, tangible negative consequences” it has on a child’s health.  Many parents may be “oblivious to the gravity of second and third hand smoke exposure and possible effects” which may or may not “be related to their level of education, access to health care and role modeling in the community.”   Continued tobacco prevention education in schools will also help prevent children from becoming the next smoker by educating them to the dangers.

Click HERE for article.

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This entry was posted in Cigarettes, Second Hand Smoke, Smoking, Tobacco Prevention and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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