How To Protect Your Kids From Secondhand Smoke

Saturday, June 7, 2008

If you, or someone in your family, smokes and you have children, then it is important to ensure that they are not the recipients of secondhand cigarette smoke, which is classified as a known human (Group A) carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Secondhand smoke is scientifically correlated with a range of illnesses from Asthma to Cancer to heart disease, and it is even more damaging to children whose lungs and immune systems are still developing. Given the statistics, the less exposure your kids have, the better.

Stop smoking. If you or anyone else in your home smokes, the most effective way to prevent harm to the kids is to quit persuade the resident smoker to quit as soon as possible. It is a hard habit to break but look at just some of the benefits you get for stopping:

  • Healthier kids, less respiratory illness (and fewer medical bills) for you and for them,
  • Clean home environment, no yellowing paintwork, no odors.
  • Cleaner, healthier teeth & gums, which can save you from having work done at the dentist.
  • Cleaner upholstery, curtains, and Arrange Your Bedroom Mirrors.
  • No chance of household fire from a cigarette or of cigarette burns.

  • Smoke outdoors. Make it a rule to never smoke inside the home, even in the middle of winter. Indoor smoke builds up and anyone in proximity to that smoke is a target of the carcinogenic chemicals and respiratory irritants cigarette smoke contains. The chemical particles also fall onto the household furniture, upholstery and walls, and continue to emit potentially damaging chemicals long after the cigarette is extinguished, not to mention the stale odor of tobacco smoke. But, standing on your driveway and lighting up will be bad for people who pass by, and smoke in the yard can easily go over walls and fences. However, smoking outdoors is always the best choice. because the smoke will naturally disappear much faster outdoors than indoors. smoking in your home is similar to smoking in a car with the windows rolled up. except that the effects are more instant in a car rather than more long term in a home.
  • Never smoke in the car. It is never okay to smoke in a car when you have kids, even when your kids are not in the car with you, because the smoke residue lingers and off-gases whenever the kids are in the car. Rolling down a window helps some, but can blow the smoke directly into your kids' faces.
  • Ask Avoid Offending Uninvited Guests to light up outdoors. It is your home and you have a right to a smoke-free environment. Be polite but firm and let the guests know that because of the kids, there is a strict "no indoor smoking" policy in place.
  • Keep the kids away from public places where smoking is concentrated. If you do not live in an area with laws banning smoking in restaurants, find the restaurants that voluntarily ban smoking when you take your kids out to eat. This also applies to concerts, shows, entertainment places, and anywhere that smokers feel comfortable lighting up. Be aware that even where smoking is banned indoors, many places still permit smoking on outdoor patios. Keep the kids away from tables of smokers or take them indoors.
  • Ask Choose a Good Babysitter not to smoke. This can be difficult, especially if you are asking grandparents or friends to babysit, but you must be firm for the sake of your children's health.
  • Make alternative arrangements. If you work or follow hobbies in a place that permits smoking, and you need to take your child there for any amount of time, make sure that your child is not exposed to the smoke of others in this environment. If you cannot manage this, make alternative arrangements.
    • Air fresheners only mask the scent of cigarette smoke - they do not remove it. Save Money on Hepa Filters suck up the odor, but all the harmful chemicals will still be lingering, undetectable but still harmful.
    • Remember what secondhand smoke exposes children to. Would you allow your children to consume or inhale arsenic, lead, mercury, DDT, acetone, ammonia, formaldehyde, cyanide, or carbon monoxide? These are the chemicals found in secondhand smoke. They may not be visible, but they are there. When inhaled even in small amounts on a regular basis, they can cause significant damage to a developing body. Secondhand smoke causes 3,400 cases of lung cancer each year and 22,000 to 70,000 heart disease in adult non-smokers in the US each year (American Lung Association).
    • If you slipped and smoked in your car or indoors, vacuum thoroughly and clean out the car or the room by wiping down furniture, car upholstery, etc. and leave the windows wide open to let in fresh air. Empty all Make an Aluminum Can Ashtray and put the garbage bag outside. The amount of extra cleaning effort might help to convince you that it is just easier not to smoke in the first place.
    • Change the air filter in your car if you smoke in it. They will contain the smoke smell and make it worse when you turn on your heat or A/C.
    • The surgeon general states that there is NO safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Short exposures to second hand smoke can cause blood platelets to become stickier, damage the lining of blood vessels, decrease coronary flow velocity reserves, and reduce heart rate variability, potentially increasing the risk of heart attack (American Lung Association).
    • Kids exposed to cigarette smoke can get severe bronchial and other respiratory illnesses, and have an increased exposure to carcinogens, which can trigger cancer. Young bodies are far more vulnerable to cell mutation triggered by secondhand smoke as they are growing. But, that does not make adults completely immune to secondhand smoke either.
    • Cigarette smoke contains around 4000 chemicals, a number of which are known carcinogens.


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