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smokefree2We often hear about the dangers of “second-hand” smoke, but have you ever considered the dangers of “third-hand” smoke that can affect your children?

First, let us consider what we all know to be “second-hand” smoke. Second-hand smoke is the mix of smoke given off by a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by a smoker, and can cause serious health problems, particularly in children, such as:
  • Bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Asthma attacks
  • Wheezing and coughing
“Third-hand” smoke, on the other hand, is the term used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of cigarette smoke residue containing gases and particles that cling to smokers’ hair and clothing, cushions, carpeting, walls and other fabrics and surfaces — even after the “second-hand” smoke has been aired out of a room. This residue contains heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, particularly if they are crawling or playing on the floor. Thus, even though you are not smoking around your child, he/she may still come into contact with these toxins when you touch him/her afterwards. Also, if you breast-feed, toxins will also be transferred to your baby via breast milk. Infants and small children are more susceptible as they have faster breathing rates, and are exposed to higher concentrations of the particles than adults.

Here are some tips to protect your child from the potential damage of third-hand smoke:

  • Make sure that the adult smokes away from the children at all times
  • Any adult who smokes should wash his/her hands thoroughly after smoking
  • Do not allow anyone who smokes to directly come into contact with a child immediately after smoking
  • Anyone who smokes should change clothing before holding or playing with babies and infants
  • Periodically steam-clean fabric-covered furniture, carpets and window drapes
  • Wipe down all wooden and hard furniture with appropriate cleaning solutions
  • Clean all hard floors regularly
  • Dispose of butts, remove ashtrays and all smoking apparatuses out of the reach of children
  • Shampoo/steam-clean and wipe car upholstery and interior surfaces
  • If you or anyone who is frequently around your child is a smoker, seek help and support towards staying smoke-free
By knowing the importance of a smoke-free environment to the child you love, this will deepen your own resolve to remain a non-smoker for good.
Information provided to WellnessConnect courtesy Source: Just Because Foundation