What is secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke that is exhaled from the lungs of the smoker.
Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS); exposure to secondhand smoke is often called involuntary smoking or passive smoking.
Why should parents be concerned about secondhand smoke?
- Effect on lungs - Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from pneumonia, bronchitis, and other lung diseases.
- Ear infections - Children who breathe secondhand smoke have more ear infections.
- Asthma - Children who breathe secondhand smoke have more asthma attacks and the episodes are more severe.
Secondhand smoke may also cause thousands of healthy children to develop asthma each year. Infants and very young children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to get lung infections, resulting in thousands of hospitalizations each year.
It is also believed that secondhand smoke is a cause of low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and many fire-related injuries.