Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.
Do you know that infants and children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer ear infections, chest infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, and asthma attacks? Exposure to tobacco smoke is harmful to your child. Stop smoking and create a smoke-free home for a healthier, happy family.
You love your children dearly. Yet, when you smoke around them, are you aware of the harmful health effects of second-hand smoke? When they breathe in the smoke from your cigarette, this is called second-hand smoke, they suffer similar health risks as smokers.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke because they are still developing physically. Infants and children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer ear infections, chest infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, and asthma attacks.
Why would you risk your children’s health conditions through exposure to second-hand smoke?
Related: Choose Your Loved Ones Over Cigarettes
You might think “well, I just won’t smoke when my children are home, then.” Unfortunately, even if you can fight the urge to smoke at home, you are still putting them at risk of third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is residual nicotine and other toxic chemicals that settle on surfaces such as clothes, sofas, curtains, carpets, walls and floors. Third-hand smoke builds up over time and cannot be cleared by airing out rooms, opening windows or turning on the air-conditioner.
Young children are especially susceptible to third-hand smoke because they may breathe near, crawl, touch and lick contaminated surfaces. For instance, even if you don’t smoke in front of your child, he will still be affected by the harmful smoke that lingers on your clothing the moment he comes close to you.
Related: Bring the Gift of Smoke-Free Living Home
Studies have shown that children with parents who smoke are more likely to try smoking. The Student Health Survey 2015 conducted by HPB showed that about 51.5% of youth smokers had at least one parent who smoked, compared to 25.6% of youths who do not smoke.Even if you try not to smoke in front of your children, they could easily pick up a cigarette from a pack you accidentally leave lying around.If you need help quitting, call QuitLine at 1800 438 2000. Explain to your child why you are quitting and involve him or her in your journey to stop smoking.
Explain to your children how cigarette smoking is harmful and addictive. Inform them of the increased risks of illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease when one starts to smoke. Teach them how to stand up to peer pressure if friends make fun of them for not smoking. Help them focus on their strengths and encourage them to express themselves or cope with challenges via healthier ways, such as participating in sports.
Make it a rule to disallow smoking in your home and vehicle. If you have guests who are smokers, request that they do not light up in your house by explaining your concerns about the exposure to tobacco smoke. Do not keep ashtrays or cigarettes in your home.
Help your child understand the importance of a tobacco-free life with these activities:
1. Smells Like Smoke
Smokers tend to get more coughs and colds which block their sense of smell and taste. Layout an array of snacks for your child. Have your child taste one, and taste it again while pinching his or her nose. Explain to your child that smokers cannot enjoy what they eat because smoking interferes with their sense of taste and smell.
Give your child a skipping rope and ask him or her to skip 10 times with and 10 times without a face mask. Explain how, just like it is easier to skip without wearing a mask, smoking reduces one’s stamina and causes breathing difficulty.
Don’t let your children be victims of second-hand and third-hand smoke. People who breathe in second-and third-hand smoke have increased risk of cancers, asthma attacks and infections. Set a good example and help them lead a smoke-free life
Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown now! Call QuitLine at 1800 438 2000 to talk to our trained Quit Consultants, or visit participating retail pharmacies to speak to an on-duty pharmacist.
Download the HealthHub app on
Google Play or
Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.
Read these next:
This article was last reviewed on
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Immunisation Chart Based on Age
The Importance of Sleep
Impact of Haze on health
Interesting Beliefs About Sneezing
Polyclinics that Provide Screening Services
Eye Care for Adults
View More Programmes
Screen for Life (SFL) is the national screening programme by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) that offers Singaporeans and Permanent Residents health screening recommendations based on age and gender.
Stay smoke-free for 28 days and you're 5 times more likely to quit for good.
Singapore’s schoolchildren have dedicated health resources to tap on. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) gives them ready access to medical and dental care.
Besides offering health screening and immunisation at school visits, HPB also conducts health education and health promotion programmes on healthy lifestyle practices.
HPB’s Student Health Centre, which generally provides preventive and screening services, follows up with the children referred from the school visits above.
Browse Live Healthy
Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.