When I was still attached to the hospital, I noticed a common similiarity among children who were admitted for lung infection. Almost 2/3rd of them were exposed to secondhand or thirdhand smoke irregardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. In fact, millions of children are breathing in secondhand smoke and thirdhand smoke in their own home. It can be especially harmful to your children’s health because their lungs still are developing.
Picture of a man smoking a cigarette holding a burning filter tip in his hand alongside a glass ashtray full of ash and dead butts.
The meaning of thirdhand smoke…
Most of us are well versed with secondhand smoke. What about thirdhand smoke?
Thirdhand smoke refers to the secondhand smoke gases and particles that stick to materials and objects, like carpets, walls, furniture, blankets, toys —-> and yes, to your own CLOTHES as well.?
So even though you smoke outside the house, your children can still be exposed to the smoke from your contaminated clothing.
If you smoke indoors, the smoke can linger for a very long time – months to years. Unless you change the ventilation, repaint the walls and throw away contaminated furniture!
So, what is the BIG fuss about smoke exposure?
Studies suggest that smoke exposure is one of the biggest risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), second being the sleeping position. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of SIDS.
Children are vulnerable to smoke particles
Children are the most vulnerable to thirdhand smoke because of exposure to surfaces like the floor and on their clothes and other objects in the house. This is particularly true for very young children who frequently touch objects and then put their hands in their mouths. This can increase their exposure to the toxic chemicals.
The only way to protect our children is to STOP smoking. You can do it! Your children are counting on you.?
Dr. JoAnn Rajah is a child specialist that provides pediatric care to baby and children in Selangor and KL. Her core strength lies in diagnosing early signs of child health issues and guiding parents on how to manage them.