both men and women.
Roughly 14 million children aged 3-11 years old are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the CDC. They breathe it in at home, at daycares and in cars. Children are twice as likely as nonsmoking adults to be exposed to secondhand smoke.
Effects of secondhand smoke
Secondhand smoke can also harm the lungs and bodies of babies that are still growing:
- Babies who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to die unexpectedly from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also called crib death.
- Babies and children who breathe secondhand smoke are sick more often with bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.
- For children with asthma, breathing secondhand smoke can trigger an attack. The attack can be severe enough to send a child to the hospital. Sometimes an asthma attack is so severe that a child dies.
There is no amount of secondhand smoke that is safe for children and despite your attempts, simply going outside, opening windows, and turning on air purifiers and air fresheners do not remove smoke’s poisons. Smoke from one cigarette can stay in a room for hours so it’s best to not smoke in the house even when children aren’t present.
How to protect your child
The CDC recommends doing the following to protect your child from the effects of secondhand smoke:
- Ask people not to smoke around your children.
- Decide to have a smoke-free home and car, and ask family and friends to respect your decision.
- Get rid of all ashtrays in your home.
- Teach your children to stay away from secondhand smoke. Encourage your teens not to smoke.
- Make the decision to quit smoking. Get help from your doctor, family, and friends. Call this free quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).