Secondhand Smoke + Babies + Kids = Danger

baby with smoking mom

If you or someone else in the house smokes, shield babies and bigger kids as much as you can. Secondhand smoke hurts babies and kids more than you might think.

Young children are exposed to secondhand smoke at a higher rate than anyone else in this country, despite sharp drops in exposure among the general US population, says The New York Times.

Kids as little as 3 and up to age 11 had the most secondhand smoke exposure of any other group, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And babies suffer too: about 400 a year die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) because they’re around someone who smokes.

That’s super scary at a time when overall exposure to secondhand smoke has plummeted by half since 2000.  The drop is dramatic and promising, but not if our children are left out of the picture.

Many kids are exposed to smoke at home. And though the number of adults who smoke has declined over the past 15 years, more recently it’s leveled off a little.

Aside from children, African-Americans and the poor are hit the hardest by secondhand smoke. About 70 percent of black children ages 3-11 were exposed to secondhand smoke, 40 percent of white kids the same age, and 30 percent of Hispanics.

American nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke fell from 53 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2012, federal health experts say. Exposure was tested by screening the blood for the nicotine marker known as cotinine. They say the overall drop in exposure is thanks to smoking bans in public places like bars and the decline in the smoking rate. Also, fewer people now allow smoking in the house.

So if you or someone else at home is constantly lighting up around the kids — especially inside — these new findings might be a good wakeup call to stop. If you can’t quit smoking, at least take the habit outside or away from the children. It’s just not worth the risk.

How do you handle smoking in your house?