Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or simply secondhand smoke, is a mixture of mainstream smoke (or the smoke the smoker exhaled), and the sidestream smoke (or the smoke coming from the burning tobacco). ETS is a combination of 7,000 different chemicals, more than 200 of these compounds are known to be poisonous, and around 70 of these chemicals are carcinogens. Exposure to secondhand smoke, at any level, can cause harm to your health.
Secondhand smoke brings higher risk to children than that of the adults. One reason for this is that children and infants have faster breathing rate than adults. Because of this, their lungs are more likely to receive higher concentration of secondhand smoke and other toxins. New born babies and children up to 5 years of age breathe at the maximum of 60 times per minute compare to adults with only 14 to 18 times a minute.
Children cannot or have very little control over their environment, and infants are totally hopeless against secondhand smoke. They greatly rely on their parents to be responsible enough to secure that their environment is free from the dangerous tobacco smoke.
Experts have discovered several health risks to children and infants linked to secondhand smoke. Today, there are several established facts how ETS affects your kids health. Below are the 7 facts why you don’t want to expose your children to these harmful compounds found in secondhand smoke.
1. Infants, whose mothers are exposed to secondhand smoke or used tobacco products while pregnant, usually are underweight at birth compare to those born to mothers who never smoked or was not exposed to ETS. In worst cases, low birth weight may lead to infant death.
2. Infants whose mothers are smokers especially while they were pregnant are more likely to suffer from developmental problems, like learning difficulties and cerebral palsy.
3. Unlike babies who were never exposed to secondhand smoke, infants who were exposed to ETS after birth have two times the danger of suffering from sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Further, babies, born from mothers who smoke during pregnancy and after giving birth, have three to four times risk of this health condition.
4. Experts suggest that around 200,000 to 1 million children suffering from asthma had their condition aggravated by ETS or secondhand smoke. Passive smoking is also associated to the rising cases of asthma each year.
5. In the United States, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or secondhand smoke is linked with approximately 300,000 known cases bronchitis, pneumonia and other of lower respiratory tract infections every year in children below 2 years and a half.
6. Children who have parents or relatives smoking inside the household are more likely to suffer from middle ear infections. ETS irritates their eustachian tube, followed by swelling which leads to the infection. This condition often leads to the child’s hearing loss.
7. Children who are regularly exposed to ETS showed slow lung development compared to those children who were never exposed to these harmful compounds found in ETS.