I think this should go without saying, but obviously, I’m wrong. I realize that addiction is difficult to deal with and nicotine is particularly tough, but think about how hard sick kids already have to work just to make it through the day…do they really deserve something else to deal with? I have a friend who smokes and she is very good about smoking VERY little when she is around my daughter and usually only doing it right before she is going to shower so she won’t bring in smoke on her hair, her clothes, etc. We all probably already know about second-hand smoke and its effects on children. Infants often have lung development issues when exposed to second-hand smoke – asthma, wheezing, breathlessness. As a parent of a child who already has some respiratory and heart issues, I can’t condone anyone ever exposing her to second-hand smoke – if someone lights up with her around, I will have to leave the area. It may seem rude, but it has to be done. We have a precious gift of a heart to take care of and I plan to do just that.
But a bigger issue for me, one that doesn’t seem to discussed as much, is third-hand smoke. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics had an article on this in late 2008 and American Scientist had a great article on it in January of this year. This just means that going into places that have cigarette smoke in them (from people there before you, even if they are no longer there or no longer smoking) is bad for your child. I am lucky to live in California where people can not smoke anywhere inside. I am also lucky in that none of my immediate family or my husband’s immediate family smokes. So, I don’t have to worry much about M being exposed to the toxins of cigarettes…but, I do feel like people need to be constantly reminded of the negatives of smoking on others and encouraged to quit.
I don’t want to sound preachy in this post, but my husband and I have both noticed some of the parents who smoke taking their children out to the smoking area with them. So, obviously, it is something that could use a little chiding…leave your kids indoors when you go out to smoke. Make sure that you change clothes and wash your hair if you’re going to be carrying a baby or small child around with you after smoking. And if you are a caretaker for a sick child, whether that illness directly effects the lungs and heart or not, think about how strong they have to be just to make it through their illness and be strong enough to quit smoking for them! I really feel strongly that life is hard enough for these kids, there is NO reason to ever do anything to make it more difficult for them health-wise.
Some additional articles on third-hand smoke:
And some resources to help you quit smoking if that is what you need: