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Second Hand Smoke: Killing Our Children Silently

Updated on April 4, 2018
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I am a mother, and that is my biggest passion. I am a waitress, and I really love my job. I am a freelance writer and enjoy it very much!

Do You Smoke?

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Who Is At Risk?

For years cigarette companies tried to sell smoking to the world. They glamorized it with beautiful pictures of good-looking people and cool slogans. Fast forward a couple decades and we are now seeing the devastating effects that smoking has had on the people who fell for their campaigns.

Several diseases have been directly linked to smoking, and warnings are now displayed on every brand of cigarette packaging.

Despite that, people still continue to smoke. Some say it helps them with anxiety, while others are so set in their ways they couldn't imagine changing their life and quitting now. However, adults are able to make the decision to smoke based on a multitude of facts while children who're exposed to second-hand smoke never get a choice.

Death From Second-Hand Smoke

According to a CDC fact sheet, more then twenty million people have died as a result of cigarette smoke since nineteen ninety-four, and 2.5 million of those people were non-smokers.

What does this mean? That we severely under estimated the danger of second-hand smoke.

The Risks Have Been Know ....

In 1986 the surgeon general released a study that was done to examine the effects of second-hand smoke on non-smokers. Ultimately it was discovered that people who were exposed to smoke were developing "oddities" such as lung cancer from the exposure to chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Also, that children of parents who smoke were more prone to certain illnesses and generally less healthy than children who were not exposed to smoke in any form.

Major conclusions of the 1986 Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking

1. Involuntary smoking is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in healthy nonsmokers.

2. The children of parents who smoke compared with the children of nonsmoking parents have an increased frequency of respiratory infections, increased respiratory symptoms, and slightly smaller rates of increase in lung function as the lung matures.

3. The simple separation of smokers and nonsmokers within the same air space may reduce, but does not eliminate, the exposure of nonsmokers to environmental tobacco smoke.

An except from the study done in 1986.


Toxicity of Tabacco Smoke

When a cigarette is smoked three different types of smoke become present: mainstream smoke, side stream smoke, and second-hand smoke.

  • Mainstream smoke - the smoke that is sucked through the filter directly into ones mouth and than inhaled.
  • Side stream smoke - the smoke that comes directly from the idle cigarette is referred to.
  • Second-hand smoke - the mainstream smoke that was inhaled and then released from the smokers lungs into the room.

Several studies have been done to determine the amount of chemicals, as well as which chemicals, that are present in a cigarettes smoke. It's been found that around 4,000-7,000 chemicals are present in smoke(depending on the cigarette), and the saturation of those chemicals are similar in both mainstream and second-hand smoke.

Their is a lot of scientific language involved in describing how a persons body responds to the chemicals in second-hand smoke, but the end result is that some of those chemicals can eventually cause mutations in certain genes, causing cancer.


What About Our Children.

Children who have parents that smoke have more health issues than children who're not exposed to it daily. They are more prone to earaches, take longer to recover from illness, and are more likely to become sick. Also, in a study conducted on the results of second-hand smoke in homes with children, it was found that children with parents who smoke miss more days from school. It may not be related, but it is an interesting coincidence.

Adults are old enough to make their own choices in life. If an adult wants to smoke, there's not much that can stop them. However, a child is not capable of making that same decision, but many children have that decision made for them when their parents smoke.

Going outside to light-up seems like the better alternative, and most parents do just that. Why not? Your outdoors, how could that possibly harm your child? This is where the term third-hand smoke comes into the picture.

Third-hand smoke is the smoke, or the chemicals from the smoke, that has been saturated into another object. For example, the seats in a car where someone smokes or a jacket that is worn outside while smoking.

Those contaminated objects can still transfer the dangerous chemicals from one person to another. Yes, it may not be anywhere near as dangerous as a room full of second-hand smoke, but some studies have found it can still cause Issues among children who are exposed to it frequently.


What Can We Do?

If you smoke, consider quitting. There are several resources available to help with the quitting process. If you're not ready to quit there are still ways you can reduce the amount of second/third-hand smoke your child is exposed to.

  • Do not smoke around them at all.
  • Do not smoke in any place where they frequent even when they're not around.
  • Dedicate one specific jacket or sweatshirt to be your "smoking jacket" if you smoke outside. This way your not exposing your clothing to the smoke, and then your children to the contaminated clothing.
  • Wash your hands and hair often.
  • Make sure their not being exposed to it in other places like friends houses or when they visit with family.
  • Educate your child on the importance of smoking and prompt them to reminds you when, they smell smoke around them, to be more careful.
  • Close any windows near where you smoke outside.
  • Walk far enough away from the car/house that the smoke does not travel back inside.
  • Make sure all smoke has cleared before walking back inside the door.

Basically, be aware of your smoke and keep it away from your children.


Quit Smoking Today!

Every parent in the world shares one thing in common with each other; they all want to keep their children safe. We are programmed to protect our kids no matter the cost, so why do so many parents expose their children to this silent killer?

Perhaps it seems like it's not a big deal because we do not actually watch it kill us. It is not a man standing in front of us with a gun, and we can fix it tomorrow. Unfortunately, to many children are paying the price for this mindset.

If we continue at the rate we'be been going the death count is only going to continue to increase at an alarming rate. We must educate ourselves and our children about the deadly risks associated with smoking. There is not one benefit, but one hundred consequences, so why risk it?

if you need help quitting you can take advantage of these aids:

  • Try nicotine gum. Yes, it still has chemicals in it that are not good for you, but you're working towards quitting and your children are not being exposed to smoke.
  • Patches can help with the cravings associated with quitting and reduce your desire to smoke.
  • Medication can also be helpful when quitting, and your doctor can help you find something that may work for you.
  • Tobacco hotline is available all hours of the day and have people who are willing to talk you through a craving or hard spot.

Tell Us What You Think!

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© 2018 Meagan Ireland

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    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      22 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I have always believed second hand smoke was dangerous. I grew up with parents that smoked, and I never did. However, I have Bronchioectasis, which is a lung disease. My husband smoked, but always outside and was able to quit eventually. I feel you are setting an example for your children when you smoke,which is certainly another consideration. This is a very good topic to discuss.

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