Second-Hand Smoke Is Harmful

You love your children dearly. Yet, are you aware of the harmful health effects of second-hand smoke when you smoke around them? When they breathe in the smoke from your cigarette - 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: Quit Smoking For Your Loved Ones

What About Third-Hand Smoke?

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. Young children are especially susceptible to third-hand smoke because they come into contact with these surfaces. Third-hand smoke builds up over time and cannot be cleared by airing out rooms, opening windows or turning on the air-conditioner.

Even if you don’t smoke in front of your child, he or she will still be affected by the harmful smoke that lingers on your clothing the moment he or she comes close to you.

Related: Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Your Child’s Health

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 stop smoking.

^Kindly note that airtime charges apply for mobile calls to 1800 service lines and calls are free of charge only if made from regular land lines.

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

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.

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 by explaining your concerns about the exposure to tobacco smoke. 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.

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

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your baby a healthy start.

Resources for Quitting

Join the I Quit Programme and remain smoke free for 28 days and you are 5 times more likely to quit smoking. You can nominate your loved ones as a supporter when you sign up for the programme. Validate your smoke-free status and redeem a HPB eVoucher* worth $50 at the 28th day milestone. Keep going and you'll also receive eVouchers* worth $30 and $20 at the 3rd month and 6th month milestone respectively!

*Terms and conditions apply.

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