Why Smoking Around Kids is a Big No Noby Robert Dunne
Ok let’s start off with a situation, you’re out with some of your friends, with your kids, in a park, suddenly, you get the urge to have a cigarette, your little ones have been stressing you out and this is the release you need to stay calm and collected with your friends. This is going to be the point where a little me steps into your brain and says STOP!
See, as much as it may seem harmless in the moment, there are loads of reasons to not smoke in this circumstance, most importantly, your kids. You may have heard the phrase ‘second-hand smoke’ thrown around in anti-smoking adverts or by your in-laws who you already disliked before they began pressing their views on you, but have you heard of ‘third-hand smoke’? Don’t worry, let me take this moment to enlighten you on what it is and why it can be a major risk for your children.
So putting it simply, third-hand smoke is the smoke that lands on (and stays on!) practically every surface remotely near someone who has smoked there. You may wonder then, why is this such a huge risk to my kid? See, at a young age, children spend most of their time on or near the floor, as well as biting, touching and throwing toys and other things (rest in pieces my wedding china!) as well as putting everything they can get their hands on, in their mouth. All this contact with different surfaces means your little one is consuming loads of third-hand smoke, which can increase their risk of having asthma, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and more serious things such as childhood cancers and being at higher risk for sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). All these risks run on the simple idea of the more smoking the child is exposed to, the more likely they are to occur, so here are our top tips for how to help reduce the risks of smoking on your child:
Create a smoke-free environment
As I’ve already mentioned, third-hand smoke can land on anything in close proximity to the person smoking. Therefore, the easiest way of keeping your baby as safe as possible is to keep as many environments as possible smoke-free, most importantly enclosed spaces like houses. Things to consider could be which rooms are your baby allowed in? Which rooms do you use the most? By asking questions like these, you can create a number of spaces in the house where there is no smoking, keeping your baby in an as healthy environment as you can within your own home. Usefully, in 2015, it was made illegal to smoke in cars with people under the age of 18, meaning this is an environment that should be smoke-free anyway, or if it is not, this is a priority for all parents due to the possible repercussions.
Talk to your friends and family
One of the most forgotten causes of second and third-hand smoke consumption is friends and family who smoke with you. If this is the case for you, it would be a good idea to talk to the people you know who smoke and explain to them the risks it can cause for your child and try and find a way for them to not smoke around your child, this will not only help when out and about, but it can also be a great way to maintain your smoke-free environments in your house.
Firstly, I would like to say I do appreciate that the way I’ve said that may make it sound like it is easy, but I do know that for many this is not the case. However, quitting is the ultimate way to make sure your child is safe, by taking the smoking risk away, you’re not only benefiting your child’s health but also your own. If you are struggling with this, then why not try the steps above first, take the small steps for the sake of the long term benefits and you and your baby should really see the difference.
So why not try some of these? The simple fact is that by trying any of these within your lives you and your baby will benefit, and that’s before the massive difference it will make to the spring cleaning! Your child’s health is a priority and so is your own, so if you are ever thinking of smoking around your little one, just imagine a little me on your shoulder reminding you of this.