Effects of Secondhand Smoke During Childhood

Effects of secondhand smoke are seen as wide range of health issues through the entire childhood. Some even leave their mark in adulthood. 

New reports are emerging frequently and new threats to health of children are being published. 

Only parents’ awareness on the subject and their positive efforts to stop smoking can salvage children’s well being.

Second hand smoke jeopardizes toddlers, infants and even the babies yet in the womb .

Wish to read the effects of secondhand smoke during those phases of child development?

Given below are two links: Explore! 

Now let's carry on with the effects of secondhand smoke that may affect during any phase of childhood.

Tobacco smoke is addictive

Passive smoking experienced during fetal life and early childhood makes children inclined to indulge in smoking from their early teens and continue to do so throughout life.

Affects fertility

Low fertility rate has been documented in women who are exposed to tobacco smoke. The effect is equally severe in active and passive smokers. It even jeopardizes successful IVF implantation and its final outcome.

Causes asthma

  • Second hand smoke can initiate asthma attacks in children genetically predisposed to the disease.

  • Passive tobacco smoking leads to severe and frequent attacks of asthma.

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke during fetal growth phase can result in lifetime wheezing tendency.

  • The adverse effects of secondhand smoke on developing airways’ usually persist and compromise the lung functions throughout life.

Increases risk of complications during anesthesia

Children who are exposed to second hand smoke are more prone to develop life threatening complications secondary to anesthetic agents.

Passive smoking increases the likelihood of laryngospasm by ten folds, which may even progress into complete airway obstruction leading to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

Developmental disorders

Cognitive development is compromised due to neurotoxin effect of tobacco smoke.

Consequently, the children affected by second hand smoke show sub-optimal ability to read, comprehend and implement. They also fair poorly for IQ score.

Behavior disorders

  • Anxiety

  • Temper tantrums

  • Poor social relationships

  • Moodiness

  • Depression

  • Hyperactivity

  • Aggressive behavior

  • School absenteeism- this may also be due to repeated sickness and or asthma attacks

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder: ADHD

According to evidence based clinical study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the risk of childhood neurobehavioral disorders like ADHD and learning disabilities are doubled in children who are exposed to second hand smoke in their home itself.

Impairs sense of smell

Exposure to tobacco smoke may impair olfactory function in children. The results of a study from Canada point that the ability to appreciate many types of smells is masked in children exposed to tobacco smoke at home.

Impairs hearing

The ability to appreciate fine low notes is impaired. This could be due to cilliary function impairment or as a consequence of middle ear infections, also as an effect of environmental tobacco smoke pollution.

Aggravates allergic tendencies

Allergy is an altered reaction of body’s immune system to the common environmental allergens.

Under the effect of second hand smoke exposure, children’s immune system gets disturbed, and they begin to react more easily and intensely to a lot of allergens.

Can disturb the body's endocrine system and that too during the developmental phase.

Has been recently linked to childhood obesity: For more details on this point we wait for the updates.

Get the feel of the gravity of threat passive smoking is imposing on child health. Also browse the right column for related pages.

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Adverse birth outcomes

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Effects on childhood development

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What can we do for safe air?

Second hand smoke poses threat

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Gravity of health problems

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Effects of tobacco smoke on children


Asthma & allergic predisposition

ADHD & Learning disabilities

Behavior problems

Mother's exposure to tobacco smoke

Harms baby in the womb

Tobacco hinders breastfeeding

Passive smoking in infants & toddlers





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