How to protect children from passive smoking?
The first global study on the effects of passive smoking (called also second-hand smoke (SHS)) shows that it causes an average of about 600 000 deaths every year. This makes 1 in every 100 deaths worldwide.
One-third of the dead children were often exposed to tobacco smoke at home, according to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The study, conducted in almost 200 countries, found that passive smoking is particularly dangerous for children because it increases the risk of the syndrome of sudden infant death, pneumonia, and asthma.
Around 750 million children – almost half of the world’s children – breathe air, polluted by tobacco smoke. Passive smoking also causes heart disease, respiratory disease, and lung cancer.
The message is clear: “Passive smoking harms health. There is no safe level of exposure passive smoking. Let’s give our children a smoke-free childhood. ”
What is the impact of secondhand smoke on health?
Secondhand smoke is a smoke inhalation of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes), which is already exhaled by active smokers, or one that is separated from a lit cigarette close. Tobacco smoke contains over 7000 chemicals, including hundreds, are toxic and about 70 cause cancer.
The smoke released from the burning cigarette is much more harmful than the smoke that smokers inhale. It contains up to 3 times as much carbon monoxide and 15-300 times more ammonia.
Practically, there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke; even brief exposure to a tobacco smoke can be harmful to health. Statistics show that since 1964, about 2,500,000 non-smokers developed various health problems as a result of passive smoking, which has proved deadly.
Secondhand smoke damages the psyche
It is known that secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer, but recent studies have shown that it can affect badly and mental health.
Scientists from University College London found that non-smokers exposed to cigarette smoke are 50% more likely to suffer from psychological problems. The risk to passive smokers visits a mental clinic in the last six years tripled.
Experts explain that the information on the effects of passive smoking is too limited and people are not aware of how cigarette smoke around them can affect their mental and physical health. During the study lasted six years, 41 passive smokers were admitted to a psychiatric clinic.
Also, the researchers explained that tobacco can spoil the mood, some studies have shown a potential link between smoking and depression.
Impact on children’s health
The main health problems that secondhand smoke causes by children are:
- Еar infection
- More frequent asthma attacks
- Various respiratory problems (coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath)
- Respiratory infections (bronchitis, pneumonia)
- Increased risk of syndrome of sudden infant death (SIDS)
Impact on the health of elderly
For adults who have never smoked tobacco smoke can cause:
- Cardiovascular problems – When smokers inhale smoke, it has an immediate effect on the heart and blood vessels. It is estimated that passive smoking caused the death of 34 000 people per year from diseases of the cardiovascular system for the period 2005-2009 in the US.
- Lung cancer, pharynx, and larynx, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – Passive smoking is the cause of 7,300 deaths from lung cancer per year for the period 2005-2009 in the US.
- Stroke – The influence of tobacco smoke by passive smoking can be assessed by a test of the content of the substance in the body cotinine. For this purpose are used blood, urine or saliva samples. Cotinine is a result of the decomposition of nicotine in the body.
Therefore you should be aware that:
Tobacco smoke contains hundreds of toxic substances, including dozens of carcinogens. Children and non-smokers breathe part of these substances which accumulate in the lungs and absorbed by their bodies, where it is processed.
Children aged 3 to 12 months who live among smokers have a higher concentration of the carcinogen (specific for tobacco) in their urine compared to unexposed children. Nicotine can be found in the hair of children aged 3 to 27 months, even their parents to avoid smoking inside the home.
The toxic components of tobacco smoke stay in the air for a long time. Nicotine from tobacco smoke is deposited on surfaces in the home and even in house dust.
- increases the risk of sudden death of a baby of unknown causes;
- causing the birth of babies with low birth weight;
- causes more frequent ear infections by children;
- impairs proper lung development by children;
- cause bronchitis and pneumonia in children under 2 years;
- causes asthma and cough among children of school age;
- inhalation of tobacco smoke during childhood can cause problems in later life – impaired lung function, chronic cough, asthma.
You can protect yourself and your family from the tobacco smoke if:
- Quit smoking if you smoke!
- Do not allow smoking in or near your home!
- Do not allow to smoke in the car, even when the windows are down!
- Choose restaurants and other public places that are not allow smoking (even outdoors)!
- Teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke!
- Be a good role model for the children by not smoking or using tobacco in from of them.