28 August 2006

Keep Children From Secondhand Smoke

Tobacco smoke is not only harmful to those who are actually smoking, but also to nonsmokers who breathe the same air. Exposure to secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for young children. Bodies of infants and children are still developing, so they are especially vulnerable to the poisons in secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke has been found to contain more than 50 carcinogens and at least 250 chemicals that are known to be toxic or carcinogenic.

Try to reduce your child's exposure to secondhand smoke whenever possible. While smoking at home and in cars with children presents the most exposure, secondhand smoke in any environment is posing a health risk. If you are a smoking parent, never smoke near your child or in the house. Also ask visitors, friends and family members not to smoke near your children. Be sure to ask passengers riding with you and your kids not to smoke in the car. Any tobacco exposure is bad, so it is better for parents themselves to quit smoking and it is better for their children if they quit smoking.

Smoke exposure causes significant damage and lasting consequences in newborns. Do not smoke or breathe secondhand smoke while you are pregnant. Do not let your children breathe secondhand smoke after they are born. Secondhand smoke's effects on children are not minor, temporary or reversible. Parents need to understand that effects will not go away. If children do not grow healthy lungs when they are supposed to, they will likely never recover. The process is not forgiving and the children are not going to be able to make up this loss later in life.

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