As a child I didn’t like fact that my parents smoked. I’m not sure exactly at what age I decided that it wasn’t a behavior that I never wanted to take up, but to this day I have never tried it. I used to tell my parents all the reasons why it was a bad choice but it never seemed to sway their habit. In those days the public didn’t have information about how smoking in the same room or in the car impacted children’s health. However in the last thirty years there has been increasing research showing that smoking cigarettes is not only a health risk for the person smoking, it's also bad for the people around them. In a national survey conducted with over 3,000 families, researchers found that children who lived in the home with smokers missed one more day of school than children who lived in non-smoking homes. The children that lived with smokers also tended to have more respiratory-related illnesses like ear infections and chest colds. According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency secondhand smoke is responsible for increased numbers of asthma attacks and an increase in the severity of the attacks in children. Secondhand smoke also increases the number of lower respiratory infections (chest colds, bronchitis, pnuemonia) and hospitalization for respiratory infections. Children have developing lungs and breathe more times per minute, so they are more susceptible to infections. While is might not seem like one day of school is significant, it is an average across the study. This means that some children may be missing many more days of school and that can impact their education each year. When children are sick it impacts parents' work schedules as well. It is a benefit to the entire family if each member of the family can stay healthy.
I wish I had this study to share with them when I was a child, especially because I was prone to upper respiratory infections. I hope this gives all the parents that smoke around their children a strong reason to consider quitting for the health of the entire family.
Dr. Dae is a Naturopathic Physician who practices in the Washington DC metro area treating the whole person using safe and effective combinations of traditional and natural methods to produce optimal health and well-being in the lives of her patients.
Sources: "Kids miss more school when parents smoke: study| Reuters. " Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2011.
"Smoke-free Homes and Cars Program | Indoor Air | US EPA." US Environmental Protection Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2011. http://www.epa.gov/smokefre.