smoking, tobacco

Second-Hand Smoke is Harmful

You love your children dearly. Yet, when you smoke around them, you are directly harming their health. When they breathe in the smoke from your cigarette, this is called second-hand smoke, and 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 and chest infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as asthma attacks.

Related: Stubbing Out Second-Hand Smoke

What about third-hand smoke?

You might think “well, I just won’t smoke when my children are home, then.” Unfortunately, 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

How to Protect Your Children From the Harmful Effects of Tobacco

Set a Good Example and Quit Smoking

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 quit smoking.

Talk to Your Child About the Benefits of Staying Tobacco-Free

Explain to your children how smoking is harmful and addictive. 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.

Keep Your Home and Vehicle Smoke-Free

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. Do not keep ashtrays or cigarettes in your home.

Parent-Child Activities: Get Active!

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. Lay out 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.

2. Limiting The Lungs

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.

Resources for Quitting

Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown now! Call QuitLine at 1800 438 2000 for support, and visit participating retail pharmacies for advice that can help you quit.


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