Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Children’s Health


The Smoking has become a great menace in the society and spreading at the great speed among all ages . The smoking has become a common in all countries of the world . The smokers who usually smoke in open places , clubs , banks and other public places are putting the common men who do not smoke in danger . Being passive smokers , they always bear the burnt of the smokers smoke coming out like a factory under fire . The growing consumption of smokers has also affected the lives of the children and mostly the children try to copy from the parents who usually smoke before the children at home . They are really spoiling the young lives as well as putting an impression of smoking before the young minds .

Secondhand Smoking :
e Secondhand smoke is the Collection of the smoke from a burning cigarette and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. It is also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) which has very devastating effects upon the health around the person who is smoking which can be recognized easily by its distinctive odor or smell . The ETS contaminates the air and is retained in clothing, curtains and furniture. Many people find ETS unpleasant, annoying, and irritating to the eyes and nose because they make the eyes burn when some body tries to sit around a smoker. Most importantly it also contains a dangerous health hazard. Over 4,000 different chemicals have been identified in ETS, and at least 43 of these chemicals cause cancer.
" The Secondhand smoke is said tobe the mixture of the smoke which is given off by the burning the end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke that is exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and exposure to secondhand smoke is sometimes called involuntary or passive smoking. Secondhand smoke contains more that 4,000 substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals"
According to EPA, the exposure to secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer in adults who do not smoke. The EPA also estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmokers which is realty alarming situation as the statistics show .
The exposure or being prone to secondhand smoke has also been shown in a number of studies which reveal that it has increased the risk of heart diseases in the world.
Effects Of secondhand Smoke on Children:
The fetus and newborn: Maternal, fetal, and placental blood flow change when pregnant women smoke, although the long-term health effects of these changes are not known. Some studies suggest that smoking during pregnancy causes birth defects such as cleft lip or palate. Smoking mothers produce less milk, and their babies have a lower birth weight. Maternal smoking also is associated with neonatal death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the major cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age.
Children’s lungs and respiratory tracts: Exposure to ETS decreases lung efficiency and impairs lung function in children of all ages. It increases both the frequency and severity of childhood asthma. Secondhand smoke can aggravate sinusitis, rhinitis, cystic fibrosis, and chronic respiratory problems such as cough and postnasal drip. It also increases the number of children’s colds and sore throats. In children under two years of age, ETS exposure increases the likelihood of bronchitis and pneumonia. In fact, a 1992 study by the Environmental Protection Agency says ETS causes 150,000 to 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections each year in infants and children under 18 months of age. These illnesses result in as many as 15,000 hospitalizations. Children of parents who smoke half a pack a day or more are at nearly double the risk of hospitalization for a respiratory illness.
The Ears: Exposure to ETS increases both the number of ear infections a child will experience, and the duration of the illness. Inhaled smoke irritates the eustachian tube, which connects the back of the nose with the middle ear. This causes swelling and obstruction which interferes with pressure equalization in the middle ear, leading to pain, fluid and infection. Ear infections are the most common cause of children’s hearing loss. When they do not respond to medical treatment, the surgical insertion of tubes into the ears is often required.
The Brain: Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to suffer behavioral problems such as hyperactivity than children of non-smoking mothers. Modest impairment in school performance and intellectual achievement has also been demonstrated.
Research Reports on Secondhand Smoke:

According to study of The National Survey on Environmental Management of Asthma and Children’s Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke.," About 11% of children aged 6 years and under are exposed to ETS in their homes on a regular basis (4 or more days per week) which is really the issue of concern for all . The Children are particularly vulnerable and prone to the effects of secondhand smoke as they are all developing and growing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments. Children exposed to high doses of secondhand smoke, such as those whose mothers smoke, run the greatest relative risk of experiencing damaging health effects.

Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma in children who have not previously exhibited symptoms.
Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Infants and children younger than 6 who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of lower respiratory track infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Children who regularly breathe secondhand smoke are at increased risk for middle ear infections.
Health Risks to Children with Asthma
Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease affecting 1 in 13 school aged children on average.
Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause new cases of asthma in children who have not previously shown symptoms.
Exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger asthma attacks and make asthma symptoms more severe.
The Smoking has been on constant research topics according to the research, the effects of prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke on mental development are exacerbated in children who experience socioeconomic hardships during the first two years of life, according to a March 15, 2004, news release from the National Institutes of Health. Though study data indicate that prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke can be harmful to unborn children regardless of socioeconomic conditions, they also suggest that children from lower-income families may be less able to compensate for these effects during the next few years of life
Similarly when the study, conducted by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, part of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York, found that children whose mothers were exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy had lower scores on tests of cognitive development at age two than children from smoke-free homes. The difference amounted to almost five developmental quotient points out of an average score of 100. Further, the children who were exposed to secondhand smoke in utero were approximately twice as likely to have developmental scores of less than 80, which is indicative of developmental delay. These differences were magnified for children whose mothers lived in inadequate housing or had insufficient food or clothing during pregnancy. The combined effect was a developmental deficit of approximately seven points in tests of cognitive performance. Although the influence of material hardship on the association between secondhand smoke and cognitive development was measured during the postnatal period, the test results show that the children’s postnatal exposure to secondhand smoke did not confer any additional risk for developmental deficit over and above that caused by prenatal exposure alone.
The research involved a sample of 226 infants of nonsmoking African American and Dominican women in Washington Heights, Central Harlem, and the South Bronx, New York. Each of the women was interviewed during the third trimester of pregnancy for approximately 45 minutes by a specially trained bilingual interviewer. From the interviews, data were obtained on participants’ exposure to secondhand smoke and on their socioeconomic status and living conditions. Secondhand smoke exposure was validated further using a short-term biomarker of exposure-the Level of cot nine in the umbilical cord blood at the time of delivery.

The Smoking is said to be the major a major cause of illness and death from chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancers of the lung and other sites in Today’s world. The Smoking is the most important cause of premature death in developed countries as well as increasing in developing countries. . It accounts for one fifth of deaths in the UK: some 120,000 deaths a year. The avoidance of smoking would eliminate one third of the cancer deaths in Britain and one sixth of the deaths from other causes. Smoking prevalence in young people rose between 1988 and 1997 and the downward trend in adult smoking, noted in the UK since 1972, was reversed in 1996.

For example If a person who smokes cigarettes regularly more than doubles his or her risk of dying before the age of 65.Addiction to nicotine sustains cigarette smoking and is responsible for the remarkable intractability of smoking behaviour.Smoking in pregnancy causes adverse outcomes, notably an increased risk of miscarriage, reduced birth weight and prenatal death. If parents continue to smoke after pregnancy there is an increased rate of sudden infant death syndrome. Cigarette smoking is an important contributor to health inequalities, being much more common amongst the disadvantaged than the affluent members of society.


The enormous damage to health and life arising from smoking should no longer be accepted; the Government should take effective action to limit this preventable epidemic.

The Government should require of the tobacco industry:
a. reasonable standards in the assessment of evidence relating to the health effects of the product it sells,

b. acceptance that smoking is a major cause of premature death, and

c. Normal standards of disclosure of the nature and magnitude of the hazards of smoking to their customers, comparable to that expected from other manufacturers of consumer products.
Independently of specific governmental regulations, tobacco manufacturers should comply with these requirements. There is an importance and urgency with the smoking problem that needs to be recognized by both the Government and the public. The Children of all ages specially aged between 5 to 11 are venerable to the Secondhand smoking and ETS . The Smoke which contains hazardous material and nicotine causes lung cancer and asthma among the children . The Children are imitate and copy from the parents be it father or mother who smokes the Cigarette. .They are not only harming themselves but also the people and the children around them who are affected due to smoking .