(World No Tobacco Day) How passive smoking can affect the foetus?

Dr Pooja AttreyPT

Created by Dr. Pooja Attrey(PT)
Updated on May 31, 2017

World No Tobacco Day How passive smoking can affect the foetus

Passive smoking or secondhand smoking(SHS) is when a non-smoker inhales smoking particles from someone else’s exhaled smoke,in a smoking environment. There is also Third Hand Smoke (THS) which is exposure to smoke particles settled on the floor, clothing or hands of a smoker.These are harmful for adults as well as for children.

Passive smoking can damage your body terribly because secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are irritants and toxins, and some of which are known to cause cancer. Passive smoking from all forms of tobacco is harmful.

How does smoking affect the immediate environment?

The smoke, a person breathes out while smoking, and smoke from the burning tip is released into the air. This smoke can stay in the air for up to 2.5 hours, even with a window open. It may still be there even if you can't see it or smell it in enclosed places like rooms, cars, cabins and such. Smoke may still be present in large amounts even after everyone has stopped smoking.

Why is passive smoking dangerous for children?

Passive smoking, both SHS &THS, are especially dangerous for unborn children,infants and children because they have smaller airways and less mature immune systems than grown-ups— they’re more likely to have allergic reactions as well as other negative body responses.

Babies and children also spend a lot of time on or near the floor, and often put their hands and toys into their mouths. This means they might swallow or breathe in toxins from third-hand smoke.

Pregnancy and passive smoking

Research shows that women exposed to SHS while pregnant tend to deliver premature babies with low weight and respiratory complications. This happens because nicotine and other harmful toxins can get transported to the fetus from the mother’s blood. They can cross the safety barrier, the placenta, which would otherwise protect the baby from any diseases carried from the mother.

Infants, children &passive smoking

1.I nfants exposed to second hand smoke have a greater risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or cot death).

2. They have higher rates of lung or airway infections such as bronchitis, bronchiolitis and pneumonia during the first two years of their life

3. They are more likely to contract 'glue ear' (otitis media), which is an infection and swelling of the ear.Middle ear disease is a common cause of hearing loss in children, which can delay speech development

4. On an average, the children exposed to SHS cannot breathe in as deeply or breathe out as hard as compared to children of non-smokers

5. They are likely to have symptoms such as coughing, phlegm, wheezing, and breathlessness. Asthma is more common among children of smokers

6. SHS appears to impair the immune system in children, which increases their risk of infections like meningococcal disease, which can cause mental disabilities, hearing loss, or loss of limbs

Precautions you should take

1. Set a strict no-smoking rule in the house, especially for the baby’s room and play area

2. If someone needs to smoke, they must do it outside, away from the house

3. They must put on a ‘smoke shirt’ that is full-sleeved or a jacket while smoking and remove it before entering the house to stop THS.

4. The baby must not be held for up to 3 hrs after smoking. Even after this time, make sure they wash their hands and face.

Did you like the blog? Was this blog helpful for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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| May 31, 2017

Yes u r right tanisha. Even once can be dangerous.. Bettet to be cautious. :)

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| May 31, 2017

Wow thats good canisha that no one in family smokes:)N i gs friends can understand the situation from babys perspective n hopefully wont smoke when around the baby:) Also thank you for appreciation :)its really motivatng:)

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| May 31, 2017

Wow!!! I didn't know this, though my husband smokes, it is quite rarely. However, post reading your blog, I feel that even rarely can get dangerous for the family and children and more so pregnant mom.

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| May 31, 2017

Hi Pooja, thanks for sharing this insightful blog. Thankfully nobody smokes in my immediate family but there are few friends who do. But thanks for the information.

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