Secondhand Smoke and Secondhand Vaping: Both Bad for Kids
December 01, 2020
You’ve probably heard about the health risks of secondhand smoke. Now there’s growing evidence that being around vaping is also risky for kids.
“Secondhand smoke can come from a lit cigarette or from the breath of a smoker,” says UH Rainbow pediatrician Andrew Garner, MD. “It contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Many are toxic.”
Exposure to secondhand smoke has been linked to:
- A higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome in babies
- More frequent bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections in babies and children
- More frequent and severe asthma attacks in kids who already have asthma
An Emerging Threat
“Secondhand vaping is similar,” Dr. Garner says. “Kids can be exposed to the aerosol from e-cigarettes. It may contain a number of harmful substances, including nicotine.”
In a paper in the journal Pediatrics, doctors looked at how nicotine from e-cigarette aerosol may affect children. Reviewing past research, they found that nicotine can harm the nervous, respiratory, immune and cardiovascular systems.
“Because children’s bodies are still developing, they’re especially vulnerable to these effects,” Dr. Garner says.
What Parents Can Do
To protect your child:
- Keep your home smoke-free.
- Ban smoking in your vehicle.
- Ask other people, such as grandparents and babysitters, not to smoke around your child.
And based on the Pediatrics paper and Dr. Garner’s advice, don’t let your child be anywhere near vaping, either.
UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s dedicated team of more than 1,300 pediatric specialists uses the most advanced treatments and latest innovations to deliver the complete range of pediatric specialty services for 750,000 patient encounters each year. Learn more about UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital or find a pediatrician close to home.