Around 700 million children – almost half of the world’s children – breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke.
Second-hand smoke, also called environmental tobacco smoke, is a combination of two forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco products.
- Sidestream smoke: the smoke that comes from the end of a lit tobacco product
- Mainstream smoke: the smoke that a smoker exhales
Second hand smoke is made up of particles and gases containing thousands of chemicals, including carcinogens and toxic chemicals.
Certain harmful health effects of second-hand smoke are specific to infants and children. Babies born to smoking mothers have on average lower birth weight than those whose mothers do not smoke during pregnancy. Infants exposed to second-hand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and both infants and older children exposed have increased rate of respiratory infections, asthma, cough, wheeze,and middle-ear infections.
Children are exposed involuntarily to second-hand smoke because adults smoke in the places where they live, work, and play. While more and more countries are banning smoking in public places and workplaces, children remain unprotected from exposure in homes, cars, and other locations where they spend their time.
Please do not expose your children to second-hand smoke.
Information adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics