Dangers of secondhand smoke and children

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Children exposed to secondhand smoke from cigarette, cigar, marijuana smoking, and even vaping are breathing the same dangerous chemicals and poisons that smokers inhale.

Homes and vehicles are places where young children are most exposed to secondhand smoke. Long-term exposure to the harsh elements found in second-hand smoke can lead to smoke-related illnesses for infants and children.

What are the effects of secondhand smoke?

Infants and young children are susceptible to poisons and chemicals in secondhand smoke. Smoke-related illnesses from secondhand smoke are:

  • Asthma
  • bronchitis and pneumonia
  • middle ear infections
  • coughing/wheezing
  • allergies

 Other effects among school-aged children are:

  • cough
  • phlegm
  • wheezing
  • breathlessness
  • Ear infections

 Children who are consistently exposed to secondhand smoke are the ones most vulnerable. They often get better with treatments and then they get sick again within the next few months.

What are some ways to avoid secondhand smoke?

  • Ask smokers not to smoke around you or in your home or car
  • Keep the windows open around smokers
  • Avoid areas where smoking is allowed
  • Use a smoke filter mask

 Making your home and vehicles smoke free can also reduce secondhand smoke exposure among children.