When grownups quit smoking, kids benefit, too.
A major improvement in children’s health that made recent headlines is that ear infections in kids have fallen dramatically. In fact, ear infections in children have declined 30 percent in the past 15 years, according to a recently published Harvard University study. Researchers theorize that fewer kids are getting sick because fewer parents are smoking.
The study also concludes that other healthy habits, such as more moms breastfeeding their babies, are helping to reduce ear infections.
That translates to fewer visits to the pediatrician’s office—and fewer nights pacing the floor with a crying baby.
The Centers for Disease Control says the rate of nonsmokers of all ages who are exposed to secondhand smoke plummeted from 88 percent in 1990 to 40 percent in 2008. Still, about 35 percent of children ages 4–11 in the U.S. are exposed to secondhand smoke at home, either from their parents or regular visitors such as grandparents, family friends or baby sitters.
Studies show babies and children of parents who smoke have more respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, according to the American Lung Association. They are more likely to develop asthma.
Smoking parents also are more prone to coughing and spreading germs. Further, their kids are 2.6 times more likely to pick up the habit themselves.
Inhaling smoke through the nose can cause irritation and swelling in a child’s ears, because the ears are located closer to the back of the throat in children than they are in adults
In addition to creating a healthier environment for kids, grownups who kick the habit can boost their own well-being, reducing their risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer.
At Christiana Care, our mission is to keep people healthy. The health system has been smoke-free, inside and out, since 2005.
Christiana Care offers smoking cessation services that can help individuals or groups to quit smoking. Many resources, including the Delaware Quitline, are available through the Delaware Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.