All parents will be aware by now of the health risks associated with smoking. Even if you do not smoke yourself, you can still be affected by cigarette smoke. Passive smoking — the inhalation of cigarette smoke while you are in the vicinity of others who are smoking — has been shown to cause major health problems also. There have been court cases recently in Australia and in other parts of the world that have established a legal connection (the medical connection has long been established) between passive smoking and a host of health problems. Most work places are now smoke-free, or in the process of becoming so.
Young children cannot make a choice about whether or not to smoke. If one or both parents, or other family member’s smoke, then they will also inhale the smoke. Passive smoking has been linked to over 50 children’s ailments and disorders. These range from relatively minor things such as sore throat and irritated eyes to serious and even life-threatening problems. Young children whose parents smoke have an increased frequency of respiratory tract infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia, and suffer more from acute asthma attacks. Passive smoking results in decreased lung growth, and there is a definite increased risk of Sudden infant death syndrome in babies when parents smoke. The risk to the child’s health is worse if the mother smokes (because she usually spends more time with the child) and increases if both parents smoke.
So the message is clear. Do not allow your child to smoke nor to be exposed to smoke! Even if you wish to continue to smoke (and we would advise strongly against it), please give up for the sake of your child’s health. Your doctor will be able to provide advice and support for you to quit this deathly habit.