Tobacco smoke harms children

Tobacco smoke harms childrenSmoking is harmful – the word has long since spread. But many people still don't realize how much children suffer from the vice of their parents and relatives.

"Phew, that stinks", Children often report when someone lights a cigarette near them. Children cannot choose their air. They depend on adults to protect them from the blue haze. Because Tobacco smoke is the most dangerous pollutant in the air she breathes.
Cloud by cloud, the ember cone of a cigarette tip enriches the room air with about 4.000 toxic substances. Many of them are much more concentrated in secondhand smoke than in one puff of a cigarette. Some of the substances, such as formaldehyde and ammonia, are particularly irritating to the respiratory tract. 40 others are even carcinogenic.

While tobacco smoke is also harmful to adults. Children, however, absorb many more pollutants through the air they breathe: they breathe in and out two to three times as much air per minute as adults and therefore absorb more environmental toxins. In addition, the ratio of skin area to body volume is greater in young children, so they also absorb more environmental toxins through this route.

The main source of childhood tobacco smoke exposure is the parental smoking household. In Germany, about 8.5 million boys and girls live in households where at least one person smokes. In addition, babies and toddlers generally spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors. And: you naturally have no way of avoiding passive smoking if the family is uninhibitedly indulging in their vice.

Tobacco smoke harms children

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Smoking during pregnancy

If a pregnant woman picks up a cigarette, she can do great harm to her baby. This is because the pollutants in the mother's blood also enter the body of the unborn child via the placenta and can impair blood circulation, lung maturation and brain development in the fetus. This increases the risk of low birth weight, premature birth or even stillbirth several times over.

Co-smoking newborns are three times more likely to be affected by sudden infant death syndrome than babies raised in a smoke-free environment.

Long-term damage from passive smoking

For schoolchildren, the smoke often causes headaches and nausea. But even more dangerous are the long-term consequences of secondhand smoke in children: they are more likely to suffer from Bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, middle ear effusions and allergic skin diseases. And it promotes later cancer-. Cardiovascular diseases. So there are many arguments in favor of leaving the cigarette to the left in the future.

Our expert: Rolf-Rudiger Horn, specialist for pediatrics and adolescent medicine, addiction officer of the Federal Association of Pediatricians and Adolescent Physicians e.V.

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