Smoking around an infant increases his risk of respiratory illnesses, including chronic cough and pneumonia. Babies who live in households where smoking occurs have more doctor visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations than babies not exposed to secondhand smoke.
Smoking also interferes with a nursing mother's milk supply and can introduce harmful substances to the baby through her breast milk.
If a child's parent smokes, the child may view smoking as acceptable. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to pick up the habit than children whose parents don't smoke. Adolescents who smoke are more likely than nonsmokers also to use other drugs, including alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. There is evidence that smoking during adolescence — the time when most people begin smoking — may cause genetic changes that lead to lung cancer among former smokers later in life.
If you do not yet have children, quit smoking before you become pregnant (or your spouse becomes pregnant). Give yourself plenty of time to quit. If you use nicotine-replacement products to help you quit, it is important for your baby's health that you have stopped using them by the time you conceive.
If the pregnancy is already underway or your baby is already born, quit as soon as possible. Quitting at any time is better than not quitting at all. Don't think you can spare your baby or child the effects of secondhand smoke by smoking in another room of your home, away from your child. Air circulates, and smoke sticks to carpeting and fabrics. All the occupants of your house will breathe your smoke. It takes more than three hours for 95 percent of the smoke from a single cigarette to clear a space.
These tips have helped smokers become ex-smokers.
If you can't quit (yet), protect your children: