Passive smoking in children
Maternity hospital. Half past five in the morning. I rush to the shower in order to have time before my baby wakes up to put myself in order. A very young girl walks towards me with a characteristic postpartum gait. Just yesterday, her first child was born. I smile amiably at her, prepare to give advice on pumping, swaddling, stool frequency in newborns. But her question baffles me: “Can’t you find a smoke?”.
Passive smoking during pregnancy
Seeing the confusion on my face, the young mother declares: “ I smoked all my pregnancy, and nothing!”. NOTHING!
Yes, the baby was born safely and looks healthy. The arms and legs are in place, he eats and cries like other children. But the fact that during passive smoking the baby regularly suffered from oxygen deficiency, due to the fact that the mother’s blood was saturated with carbon dioxide, sooner or later will float to the surface and make itself felt. The fact that the baby’s body experienced the toxic effects of nicotine throughout fetal development, one way or another, will affect the development of the crumbs.
How to convince this young mother who is proud of her habit as a kind of feat, who sees in it a manifestation of her own significance and strength, which is fraught with this “nothing”. What words to explain to her, unintelligent, that her baby, who courageously endured all 9 months in the womb of a smoking mother, is now at risk of becoming a passive smoker from the cradle. And in the future, and just a smoker, the consequences of children’s passive smoking just do not go away.
I remember my student practice in the pediatric intensive care unit. A three-year-old child with an asthma attack. Whistling breath, blue lips and horror in the little eyes. When the attack was stopped, I was sent to break the news to my parents. I found them at the entrance to the hospital. Respectable, apparently well-to-do, Mom and Dad smoked nervously, waiting for news. I reassured them by telling them that everything was fine with the baby. “It’s gone!” Mom exhaled and reached into her purse for another cigarette, not even suspecting that it was cigarettes that most likely caused her son’s illness.
What could be more absurd and cynical than a parent who sacrifices his child to his own pleasure, habit, addiction?
However, 42% of children live in families where at least one of the parents smokes. The growing body is very sensitive to the components of tobacco smoke. The younger the crumbs, the more severe the consequences of passive smoking for the baby.
Turn on your imagination, parents, and imagine what happens in the body of your precious child when he inhales the blue smoke flowing from the tip of your cigarette. This smoke is much more dangerous than the one inhaled by the smoker, because it is not passed through the filter.
Harm of passive smoking for children
So, the smoke, sometimes almost imperceptible and transparent, penetrates the child’s respiratory tract. The irritated mucous membrane of the lungs and bronchi reacts to it with increased production of mucus. The lumen of children’s respiratory tract is quickly clogged with this mucus, causing a painful cough, and with chronic exposure to smoke – smoker’s bronchitis, bronchial asthma. The younger the child, the faster and more severe the consequences of passive smoking will develop. In 60% of cases of sudden infant death, there is an association with parental smoking. The first attacks of bronchial asthma in children of smokers appear at the age of up to a year.
The upper respiratory tract of the child is also involved in pathological processes under the influence of smoke. Cilia – tiny outgrowths of the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, constantly moving, prevent dust, foreign particles and microorganisms from entering the lungs. In “stoned” children, these cilia stick together with an excess of viscous mucus and cease to fulfill their function. Add to this the suppression of immunity by toxic compounds from tobacco smoke, and the baby becomes completely unprotected against respiratory infections. That is why children from smoking families get colds more often and they have a much greater risk of developing complications of acute respiratory infections. All diseases transmitted by airborne droplets ( meningitis, tuberculosis, etc. ) pose a serious threat to children from smoking families.
Cigarette smoke contains many allergens that can trigger an asthma attack, cause the development and exacerbation of allergic dermatitis in babies.
A huge amount of carcinogenic resins in the composition of the smoke may well lead your child to a hospital bed of an oncological hospital.
Consequences of passive smoking
Stoned children usually lag behind in physical and mental development from their peers. This is due to the toxic effects of passive smoking. Free radicals, which are visibly invisible in tobacco smoke, trigger harmful oxidative processes in the body. To suppress this oxidative activity, antioxidants are required, the most common of which is ascorbic acid ( vitamin C ). The reserves of this vitamin are completely spent on neutralizing the activity of free radicals, so babies suffer from hypovitaminosis, grow more slowly, and get sick more often.
I hope the above facts will touch the smoking mom and dad, make them think. You should not hope that once again it will “carry through” and NOTHING will happen. You should not wait for the ambulance siren to howl in the yard. Do not bring yourself to sleepless nights at the doors of intensive care, behind which your treasure suffers. Show parental responsibility! Protect your baby from your own addiction!