Second Hand Smoke and its Harmful Effects on Children.


It is a known fact that children are vulnerable to their environment.  Intentionally hurting your children is something you would never do.  However, each and every time you take a cigarette into your hand, lighting it, you are affecting your loves ones around you.   The negative and damaging health effects from this second hand smoke is extremely great for children exposed to it.

Second hand smoke attributes to many childhood illnesses.  The lungs are the most frequently affected organs in the young bodies of those whose parents smoke.  Children are susceptible to a wide variety of illnesses from simple sinus infection to many more serious chronic respiratory issues.  If you smoke around your children, they will be more prone to bronchitis and pneumonia.  If you have teenagers, the smoke emitted from your cigarette can cause lower and upper respiratory infections and irritations, increased severity of asthmatic symptoms as well as pneumonia.  You know what you are doing to your body by smoking, but did you ever stop to consider how you are hurting your child or children by your actions? Smoking is a very selfish action!

Studies have shown that secondhand smoke causes chronic ear infections. It is not pleasant when a child has an ear infection. The nights seems endless, the crying child contributes to the lack of sleep in the home, not to mention the antibiotics, tubes and steroids that the child must take or endure to get rid of the infection.  All children are susceptible to this nightmare during the first eighteen months of their lives, unfortunately, when secondhand smoke is in the atmosphere, the risk of chronic ear infections becomes greater.  This type of continuous infection usually leads to hearing loss.

It has been scientifically proven that second hand smoke, not only causes heart disease but also cancer of the nasal passage, the breast, the cervix and the bladder. 

If you are pregnant and smoking, your placenta blood flow will change. Unfortunately it is unknown what the long term health risks are.  However, palate or cleft lip are birth defects that are associated with smoking during pregnancy. 

Mothers who smoke produce much less milk than mothers who do not and their babies have a much lower birth weight than mothers who are smoke free.  Mothers who smoke have a much higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the number one cause of death in babies between the one month to twelve months range. 

Maternal smoking causes children to suffer from behavioral problems. The most common problem is hyperactivity. These children have impairment in their performance in school and the  their intellectual achievements have been less than children of non smoking mothers.



How Your Child Perceives you




In many western countries, the law makers have created strict policies in order to protect young children from their smoking parents.  The banning of smoking in vehicles when children are being transported in not uncommon.  Perception is a very important thing.  Many smokers are aware of the issues associated with their smoking, but it never crosses their minds to think of how their child or children perceives them.

Children are very observant, and as parents, it is extremely difficult to hide your behavior from them.  If you think you can hide your habits from your children, the only person you are fooling is yourself.  Their sense of smell is very acute.  The smell of smoke stays with the smoker for hours. When you interact with your children, cuddling or playing with them, they know that you have been smoking. 

Children are subjected to information continuously, this is partially how they learn about the world. Some of this information will be about the dangers of smoking. In many cases, children develop strong views about their parents smoking habits.  It is important to understand why they have the feelings they have.  In the first few years of a child’s life, he or she will be exposed to millions of thoughts and images.  They may know but not understand fully that not everything about their world is safe and that things are constantly changing.  They may know friends or watch TV programs that have one parent or both parents absent. Knowing about illnesses and death can cause them stress and anxiety.

One of the ways in which they may be displaying their anxiety is by asking you to stop your smoking habit.  They may know that smoking kills and that if you die, they will be all alone.  They are worried and perhaps they have herd stories of one or both parents dying and may feel that they will lose you.  Please keep in mind that your words dismissing this feeling or of comfort will not make sense to them if you still continue to smoke.  Behavioral changes will occur if their fear grows.  Being away from you will scare them.  There may be issues with school or they may start of have problems with other young children.

Perhaps they may think that if they bring chaos to the home, this may make you not want to smoke anymore. Such thinking and behavior does not have to be rational, remember that they are young children who simply feel that life is not safe and that they could change their unsettling world. 

If you stop the habit, not only would you be saving your child or children from a world of anxiety, you would be saving your self and your children from an uncertain fate.


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