As you probably already know, actor Michael Douglas, 65-years-old, was recently diagnosed with throat cancer that was linked to his smoking in the past. It made me think about his two young children, Dylan Michael, 10, and Carys Zeta, 7, and how scary that must be for not only his kids, but also his wife and family. Many parents try to shield their children from smokers and seeing adults smoke, but there is imperfection in all human beings.
If your kid sees someone smoking, talk about it. Talk about what it is, what it does, and why people do it. Talk about how hard it is to stop. It might be helpful to know that even adults can’t control everything! It’s also a chance to teach tolerance. You might be wondering about third-hand smoke – below are some facts to help teach your children and reinforce the dangers of smoking.
Here is a shocking fact about smoking according to PBS Kids Organization: Approximately 1500 kids are killed each year by fires in the home that were caused by cigarettes. The tobacco industry has the science to make a self-extinguishing cigarette, but they don’t use it! Why?
WHAT IS THIRD-HAND SMOKE?
We know about the effects of second-hand smoke which causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 22,700 to 69,600 heart disease deaths in adult non-smokers in the United States each year, as reported by the American Lung Association. But NOW, experts say it’s more than just the smoke that can harm a non-smoker. In the January 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics, it reported that toxins from tobacco cling to a smoker’s hair, clothing, and on other surfaces within the home, including carpets and cushions long after a cigarette is put out. Children may then ingest these particles while playing, crawling, or just snuggling up to the smoker.
THE SCARY DANGERS OF THIRD-HAND SMOKE
And just what, exactly, could a child come into contact with? Researchers say tobacco smoke carries 250 poisonous gases, chemicals and several harmful metals. These compounds may remain within a home long after smoking has stopped (nursing mothers who smoke may also transfer the toxins into her baby via breast milk). Over time, children who are exposed to these low levels of tobacco particles may develop cognitive deficits and psychological problems like ADHD.
If you’re a smoker and have children, there’s never been a better time to quit. If you have trouble kicking the habit, try to smoke only in a place where your child won’t come into contact with your cigarette’s remains.
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