Everyone knows about the dangers of smoking. Nevertheless, the number of people with this bad habit continues to grow every year.
According to a study published in the scientific journal The Lancet, in 2019 the number of smokers in the world reached 1.14 billion people. In the 1990s, there were 0.99 billion of them. At the same time, smoking causes the death of 7.69 million people a year.
Tobacco smoke is dangerous not only for those who smoke, but also for the people around them. Children of smokers are in a special risk group.
Passive smoking and children
According to WHO data, 165 thousand children die before the age of 5 due to diseases caused by passive smoking. And those who survive are at risk of developing COPD. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, among which 40 are carcinogens and at least 250 are considered harmful to health. And compared to an adult, the child’s body is more susceptible to the harmful effects of these poisons. Therefore, children who grow up in families of smokers tend to get sick more often than their peers who lead a healthy lifestyle.
Passive smoking affects the child’s body on the same principle as active smoking:
- prevents the development of strong immunity;
- affects all internal organs, including cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous systems, liver, kidneys, stomach;
- heads to disruption of metabolic processes;
- has a detrimental effect on brain cells, which may cause delays in development, a decrease in intellectual abilities.
Doctors noticed that in families of smokers, children are 15 times more likely to suffer from bronchitis, pneumonia and other bronchopulmonary diseases. And the wives of men who smoke are 4 times more likely to suffer from oncological ailments.
Inhalation of tobacco smoke increases the risk of developing a number of diseases in a child:
- ENT organs.
Infants exposed to secondhand smoke are at high risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Children of smokers cough more often, they are more difficult to tolerate respiratory diseases. Passive smoking can cause nasal congestion, headache, eye irritation, hoarseness of voice, sore throat. Such children are at an increased risk of developing bronchial asthma and allergies.
If passive smoking continues for years, then the child either has impaired lung function, or the organ is initially unable to develop properly and the risk of lung cancer increases. In addition, in families where one of the parents smokes, there is a higher risk that the child will also smoke.
How does smoking during pregnancy affect the health of the unborn child
Children who are still in the womb are not protected from the toxic substances contained in cigarettes. And it’s not just about women who smoke while carrying a child. Passive smoking during pregnancy can lead to disorders in the development of the fetus, in particular, provoke problems with the respiratory system. And if an infant inhales cigarette smoke, then he has an increased risk of sudden death syndrome. If a woman smokes during pregnancy, it can cause fetal death. Smokers are almost 12.5 times more likely to have miscarriages, including in late pregnancy. Cigarette smoke penetrating through the placenta can paralyze the fetal respiratory system and cause seizures. In addition, smoking mothers quite often have babies with lesions of the central nervous system