Protecting Children from Secondhand Smoke

No one should be forced to breathe secondhand tobacco smoke. It harms everyone who breathes it. It harms children more than most adults because their bodies are growing very quickly and they breathe faster than adults. Breathing secondhand smoke causes many inner ear infections, surgery to place tubes in their ears because of those infections, asthma cases, respiratory problems, cancer, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and many other medical problems.

Because children have very little control over their environment (where they live and where they go in public) society needs to protect them from unknowing or uncaring parents and other adults who may take them into dangerous places. Unsafe places for children include any building where smoking is allowed. It takes at least two weeks for the tobacco smoke in a building to leave it completely.

As children’s bodies grow, they are searching for building blocks to build new bones, muscles, brain cells and everything else in their quickly growing bodies. Some toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke “look like” other things like calcium, so they are added to children’s bodies and can cause problems in them for the rest of their lives. One example is that breast cancer rates are higher in women who breathed secondhand smoke when they were younger.