MECC Cares for Kids Protect kids from secondhand smoke

The New Year is here, and many of us ponder resolutions. Let us ponder on this: Why is secondhand smoke dangerous for kids?

Secondhand smoke contains over 4000 chemicals including arsenic, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and benzene. Sixty of them are known to cause cancer. The truth is, there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Minimal exposure is harmful to your health.

Secondhand smoke is dangerous to children because their bodies are still growing and developing and it can slow a child’s lung growth. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to have increased ear infections, more severe and frequent asthma attacks, allergies, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Infants exposed have an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Parents who smoke are not bad parents. They love their children, care for their children, and always want to protect their children from harm. There are some myths around protections from secondhand smoke exposure.

The Distance Myth: smoking in another room or different part of the house can protect my child. The truth: In a home or in a car, there is no safe distance between children and secondhand smoke.

The ventilation myth: Opening a window or using a fan or air filter makes the air safer.

The truth: Ventilating smoke does not do enough to protect children.

The odor myth: If you cannot smell secondhand smoke, the air is safe.

The truth: Even if someone can’t smell secondhand smoke, he or she may still be breathing its poisonous toxins.

The quit myth: Parents have to quit smoking entirely to be able to protect their children and keep the air safe in the home and car.

The truth: Parents don’t have to quit smoking right away to start protecting their children. Take one step, one step out your door or outside of your car.

Keep in mind the myths around and take one step. Resolve yourself to protect children from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Written by Tyra Hughes: RSAPP (Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Partners) AmeriCorps Member serving with Montelores Early Childhood Council. Tyra is the mother of two beautiful young girls.