Exposure to someone else's smoky home, jacket, or body puts your baby at risk from exposure to third hand smoke. You don't have to be a smoker for your child to experience these risks. Did you know that,"When a cigarette burns, nicotine is released in the form of a vapor that collects and condenses on indoor surfaces. .where it can linger for months"?
According to a newly released study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Research has documented the association between smoking in the home and persistently high levels of tobacco toxins (which remain) well beyond the period of active smoking. These toxins take the form of particulate matter deposited in a layer onto every surface within the home; in loose household dust; and as volatile toxic compounds that "off gas" into the air over days, weeks, and months. Smoking indoors on 1 day thus exposes people to tobacco toxins within that space in the future. We use the new term "thirdhand" smoke to name this complex phenomenon and define it as residual tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette is extinguished." The article goes on to state, "Given the rapid sorption and persistence of high levels of nicotine on indoor surfaces—including clothing and human skin—this recently identified process represents an unappreciated health hazard through dermal exposure, dust inhalation, and ingestion. These findings raise concerns about exposures to the tobacco smoke residue that has been recently dubbed “thirdhand smoke.”
Your baby, nestled softly against your breast, is absorbing these hazardous toxins from contact with your skin if you are smoking. Even if you are not smoking and no one is smoking at home you could be exposing your child to these toxins. Changing clothes or taking a shower before you breast feed does not prevent the transmission of these toxins to your nursling. You are absorbing the toxins into your skin, the toxins remain and your infant is absorbing them via direct skin to skin contact. You can avoid thirdhand smoke by avoiding all contact. Visiting a smoker's home can put you, and your child at risk. Would you nestle the side of your face against an ash tray and leave it there for any length of time while you drank or ate? What about a toxic waste dump? Sound like a great picnic spot? A place to let the kiddos run barefoot?
Fortunately Manchester has several local resources for smoking cessation available. Websites such as trytostopnh.org are in place to provide residents with free smoking cessation counseling! You can't beat that price. You have everything to gain! The cost of cigarettes seem to be averaging $5 to $6 per package in NH. Exposure to second and third hand smoke will increase your child's health problems. Children exposed develop asthma, experience greater risk for SIDS, have increased rates of upper respiratory track infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and have more frequent middle ear infections.
Smokers have higher health insurance costs, not only for themselves, but for their children as well. The children develop health issues related to exposure causing their parents pay more co-pays. If the child's health is impacted to the point of years of asthma attacks, pneumonia, bronchitis leading to scar tissue on the child's lungs, the child could become an adult with chronic respiratory problems. This in turn can lead to difficulty obtaining affordable health insurance or even life insurance. Smoking in the home, or exposing yourself / your child to third hand smoke can set you / your child up for a life time of costly problems.
Loved ones who smoke are still loved ones. They want to bask in the delight that is a baby! Gently explain how you are concerned for their health as well as your nursling’s. Provide them with information about smoking cessation. Wrap your baby in a blanket while they hold her or make sure she is wearing a long sleeved, footed sleeper to prevent skin to skin contact. Sometimes all it takes for someone to quit is a show of loving concern from their family. Babies are often the great impetus for change in a household or family. Maybe your nursling will give someone you know and love cause to stop smoking!