As more states have passed smoking bans that limit where smoking can occur and more ads display the negative side affects of smoking, it seems the number of Americans with a smoking habit has waned to some degree. Nearly everyone knows that smoking can cause anywhere from mild to extremely serious health implications in the smoker. But how does smoking affect someone's child down the roas?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15.1 percent of American adults (over the age of 18) were current smokers in 2015. Though that number is down from the 20.9 percent who self-reported as smokers ten years earlier, smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 480,000 people every year, according to the CDC. So basically, an awful lot of people are still being exposed to potentially dangerous tobacco smoke, including young children.
Luckily, the CDC noted that the prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure has gone down in recent years, lessening from 40.1 percent from 2007 to 2008, to 25.3 percent in 2011 to 2012. Unfortunately, the CDC noted that the only (unrealistic) sure way to shield nonsmokers from smoke exposure - and thus protect them from potentially developing these health complications - is to completely eradicate smoking from all public places, as well as homes, cars, and places of work. If your kids are exposed to smoke, these nine health effects are ones to watch out for.
1. They Develop Asthma
According to a study conducted in Sweden and published in Pediatrics, children can develop asthma is exposed to smoke during infancy, childhood, or when they were in the womb. The risk of developing asthma or suffering from asthmatic symptoms can last to age 16.
2. They Become Susceptible To Ear Infections
Many babies and young children suffer from the occasional (or, in some cases, chronic) ear infection. And smoking can make it worse. In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report linking smoke exposure to ear infections. So, logically, lessening the exposure to secondhand smoke can actually decrease middle ear infections, according to a study conducted by the Harvard University School of Public Health in partnership with the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society in the Republic of Ireland.
3. They Develop Respiratory Infections
Kids who are around smokers are more likely to develop bronchitis, pneumonia, and other infections that strike the lower respiratory system, according to a fact sheet published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lower respiratory infections can require hospitalizations, but keeping kids away from smoke as much as possible minimizes these risks.
4. They Can Get Eczema
According to that same Swedish study, exposure to smoke when you're little can mean a higher risk of eczema when you're a teen. Like the results for asthma, the study found that risks can be elevated through age 16, though eczema risks were greatest as kids got older.
5. They May Have ADHD And Other Learning Issues
Though the risk is highest for babies whose mothers smoke during pregnancy, paternal smoking is also linked to the potential for an ADHD diagnosis or other learning issues down the road, according to a 2014 study published in Pediatrics. Keeping babies and pregnant women away from smoke is the easiest way to lower the risk.
6. They Could Have Cancer
7. They Can Develop Diabetes
A 2006 study published in Diabetologia found that participants who had been exposed to smoke as kids had a higher risk of developing diabetes, as well as potentially higher risks of high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.
8. They Have Heart Issues
According to a study published by the American Heart Association, smoking around your children could make them more susceptible to developing heart disease later in life.
9. They Could Become Dependent On Nicotine
If a parent smokes, it's more likely that a child will smoke later in life, according to a 2012 study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Though this behavior likely won't show up until adolescence, if they're exposed to smoking through a parent, teens more likely to smoke, and may start sooner than they would have otherwise.