The effects of smoking and passive smoking on children
Smoking and passive smoking can be extremely harmful to adults, let alone children. Find out more about the consequences of smoking and the effects they can have on smokers and those around them.
The Philippines has one of the largest smoking rates in Asia, together with some of the cheapest cigarette prices in the continent. With such a high number of the population smoking, do we really know what the effects of smoking are? On a more concerning note, what are the effects of smoking on our children?
With horrific pictures of blackened lungs and deformed babies on cigarette packs and countless warnings about the dangers of smoking in the media, you’d think the anti-smoking message would really hit home. Unfortunately, perhaps because we keep hearing about it, we have somehow managed to desensitize ourselves to the serious effects of smoking.
It seems that most smokers choose not to recognize the harms of smoking by continuing to smoke despite knowing the negative effects that it can have on their health. But they should know that smoking not only hurt their bodies, it can also be a hazard to the people around them – most of all, children.
The evil effects of smoking and secondhand smoke
It’s a known fact that secondhand smoke can be more harmful than actually smoking a cigarette itself. The risks of lung cancer, heart disease and chronic lung disease are increased significantly in adult non-smokers when they are exposed to secondhand smoke.
According to Professor Phillip Eng, Consultant Respiratory Physician at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre in Singapore, the risk of lung cancer amongst passive smokers can increase up to seven times compared to non smokers.
He says, “The degree of increased risk is proportionate to the amount of exposure the passive smoker has to cigarette smoke.” These risks are very substantial to a fully grown adult. Hence, it is further compounded for a child, owing to their smaller body size.
When a child breathes in secondhand smoke, they’re breathing in the same amount of poisonous chemicals as the smoker. Health conditions related to cigarette smoke that could afflict children include asthma, respiratory infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in newborn babies.
Prof Eng says that “The risk of developing these health issues accumulates with continued exposure to the toxins in cigarette smoke.” This means that these health issues can continue and worsen into adulthood if nothing is done to curb them.
Click “Next page” to read about the long-term effects of smoking.
Long Term Risks
Aside from the higher risk of developing certain health conditions, a survey conducted by the Health Promotion Board in 2006 found that children whose parents smoke have higher likelihood of being smokers themselves and may start at a younger age.
The survey showed that one in every 11 secondary school student smokes, and out of those who smoke, more than half of them have at least one parent who smokes.
The younger a person is when he begins smoking, the greater the risk of eventually contracting smoking caused diseases such as cancer or heart disease, if they haven’t developed them already from passive smoking.
Even when smokers have finished a cigarette outside, they’re still breathing out smoke when they enter the house again. A combination of exhaled smoke, nicotine and other particles, pollute the otherwise clean air and results in your children and other non-smokers breathing in these poisonous substances too.
If you’re a parent and a smoker, the best way to protect your children from secondhand smoke is to simply quit smoking. Although quitting smoking can be easier said than done, in the meantime you can make sure you don’t smoke around your children and when you do smoke, do it outside and away from non-smokers.
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