To the editor:
As a tobacco dependence specialist and a mother of two wonderful boys, I feel obligated to share how secondhand smoke hurts children. I work with heath care providers in our area to address tobacco use with their patients (ready and those not ready to quit). One topic I believe is important to discuss and consider is adopting a smoke-free home/car policy, regardless if you smoke or not. It saddens me when I see people smoking in cars with children.
-Children exposed to secondhand smoke in the home are at a much higher risk for developing attention deficit disorder and other learning disabilities.
-According to the American Lung Association, maternal smoking during pregnancy is estimated to double the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
-Children exposed to secondhand smoke suffer from an increase in acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks because it slows his or her lung growth.
-Children typically have no control over their indoor environments. Moving to another room, opening a window, and using fans or air conditioners is not enough to protect your children from secondhand smoke exposure.
-Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke have a greater chance of a difficult delivery or a smaller-than-average baby.
If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do for your health and the health of the next generation is to quit. If you are not ready to quit, enforce no-smoking rules in your house and car to protect children from secondhand smoke. If you would like window decals for your house/car indicating they are smoke-free, please contact us at 518-897-5980 with your mailing address.
For help quitting, call New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487).
North Country Tobacco Cessation Center