I’m fortunate where I live there is much emphasis placed on the importance of not smoking. It certainly doesn’t mean no one smokes, but in my practice population, the number of parents and caregivers who smoke seems to be decreasing every year.
And so when I have a parent in the office carrying the smell of smoke, I’m typically caught off guard because again, I’m just not used to it. Most who smoke do already understand the personal hazards in smoking but I think some overlook the true perils of second-hand smoke.
What I typically do is discuss some of the more specific numbers and facts surrounding second-hand smoke hoping that might inspire the individual from rethinking the desire to smoke. Now I realize I might not change things right then and there but I do hope the discussion plants a seed where the parent or caregiver realizes the harm that can come the way of those they live with.
So for any of my fellow DailyStrength members who smoke or know someone who smokes (which is about everyone else), here are some of the statistics I share:
- Second-hand smoke consists of approximately 4,000 chemicals with more than 250 known to be toxic or cancer causing. So any time children are exposed to smoke (whether it be from a cigarette, pipe, cigar), they are being exposed to cancer causing agents.
- Second-hand smoke causes about 3,000 deaths from lung cancer and thousands upon thousands of deaths from heart disease in nonsmoking adults in the U.S. each and every year.
- Respiratory or breathing issues (particularly with those have asthma), ear infections, colds, and tooth decay all occur more often in children who are exposed to second-hand smoke.
- More specifically, the respiratory issues (e.g. wheezing, pneumonia, bronchitis) in the developing child can lead to persistent and life-long lung problems.
- Now for the pregnant mother who smokes or who is exposed to smoke during her pregnancy, the health issues to the baby that may follow include miscarriage, a premature delivery and/or smaller than typical size baby at time of delivery. In infancy, there is an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and in the toddler years, learning issues such as ADHD may appear.
- Children of smokers are more often themselves to smoke.
And the best way to reduce the risk of all of these above-mentioned consequences? Quit.
- Dr. Jeremy