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030 - Second Hand Smoke

posted Nov 30, 2015, 1:06 PM by Doug Muha

Counselor Notes 30

December 5, 2014

Second Hand Smoke

 

Each year at about this time, the Guidance curriculum turns to cigarettes.  This is often a difficult topic for parents as our survey of 3rd grade students revealed that almost half of their parents smoked cigarettes.  I recognize that is their right and I support them having the freedom to make that choice.  Still, while supporting their right to make that choice, I would like to speak up a bit for the children who do not have the right to make the choice, but are taking in cigarette smoke second hand.

Our survey of third grade children found that almost half (48%) of them have at least one parent that smokes cigarettes with them in the car and almost a third (31%) have a parent that smokes in the house.  It may be time to rethink that.  

The Center for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/   notes that secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems in children:

·         Studies show that older children whose parents smoke get sick more often. Their lungs grow less than children who do not breathe secondhand smoke, and they get more bronchitis and pneumonia.

·         Wheezing and coughing are more common in children who breathe secondhand smoke.

·         Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in a child. Children with asthma who are around secondhand smoke have more severe and frequent asthma attacks. A severe asthma attack can put a child's life in danger.

·         Children whose parents smoke around them get more ear infections. They also have fluid in their ears more often and have more operations to put in ear tubes for drainage


Other sites echo the dangers of second hand smoke on children:

·         http://www.epa.gov/smokefree/healtheffects.html

·         http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/tobacco/Pages/Dangers-of-Secondhand-Smoke.aspx

·         http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/effects-of-secondhand-smoke

·         http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/secondhand-smoke

Second hand smoke boosts the risk of learning problems and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:  http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20110711/secondhand-smoke-may-boost-risk-of-learning-problems-adhd

The longer parents smoke, the more likely their kids will smoke: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/13/us-teen-smoking-parents-idUSKBN0DT1QV20140513

And if your children become smokers…..

If your daughter becomes a smoker and is pregnant, your grandchildren are at risk for a host of health problems:  http://www.webmd.com/baby/smoking-during-pregnancy 

The children of smokers are at greater risk for learning and behavior problems (including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/smoking-when-pregnant-may-lead-to-behavior-problems-in-kids/

… and there is a greater risk of the child having bipolar disorder: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/10/03/smoking-in-pregnancy-may-be-tied-to-bipolar-disorder-in-adult-offspring-study  

Men who smoke may be giving their child (your grandchildren) asthma, even if they quit smoking years before: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2747833/Men-smoke-unborn-baby-asthma-ve-quit-years-birth.html

It isn’t enough just to not smoke around children

Parents who smoke in the car or home while their child is not there are still exposing their child to danger through the problem of third hand.

Third hand smoke - http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/expert-answers/third-hand-smoke/faq-20057791

Third hand smoke damages DNA - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140316203156.htm
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/274143.php

Third hand smoke may cause cancer:  http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/03/17/thirdhand-smoke-poses-cancer-risk/ 

In the best long term health interests of our children, I would ask that parents who choose to smoke do so outside and not in their cars or homes where your children will pick up the smoke second &/or third hand.  I would also ask parents to strive to minimize the time your child spends in the cars and homes of people who do smoke there.  Talk to your children about the dangers of smoking and the expense involved.  Also, let them know how extremely difficult it is to quit.  If you wish you had never started, tell them so.  

Parents won;t likely be there when your child first gets some peer pressure to try cigarettes.  Better that we all start talking to our children about cigarettes too early than too late.

Doug Muha Ed.S.
School Counselor
Waverly Elementary School
muhad@hjcss.org

P.S.  Those parents that smoke may want to quit or run the risk causing brain damage that will start to show up in midlife.

“The present results show that heavy smoking is associated with cognitive impairment and decline in midlife. Smokers who survive into later life may be at risk of clinically significant cognitive declines.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447882/

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