A smoke-free environment is really important for children, and you are their biggest role model. Children and babies can’t move away from smoke, and may be trapped with its poisons. Young people with family/ whānau who smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves. There is no safe level of smoke exposure for children, and there are some steps you can take to protect them.
Second-hand smoke is a mix of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and smoke blown into the air. Children breathe faster than adults and have smaller bodies, so they take in a higher dose of smoke than adults.
Second-hand smoke makes children sick. It flattens the little brushes that sweep and clean their airways. Dirt and germs build up, making it harder for a child to breathe.
A child is more likely to develop illnesses such as chest infections, asthma and glue ear. Babies of mothers who smoked in pregnancy have an increased risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUDI). So do babies who breathe in smoke.
While smoking outside is better than smoking inside, a smoke-free family is the best protection of all. See www.secondhandsmoke.org.nz for more information.
Third-hand smoke is what stays around when the cigarette is finished. This builds up layer by layer over time.
These layers of toxins are thicker in small spaces, such as a car, than in large spaces. They coat the surfaces of carpets, furniture and toys, and the skin of people and pets.
Opening or winding down a window won’t remove all of the poisons, which stay long after the smoke and smell have disappeared. Here are some steps to making your home and car smoke-free:
Decide to have a smoke-free home and car.
Ask your family and others to support you.
Remove all ashtrays and lighters from your home and car.
Let other people know (put Smokefree/Auahi Kore stickers on your doors and windows).
Notice the benefits of being smoke-free.
Talk to Plunket staff about how to stop smoking, or call Quitline on 0800 778 778.