hildren face a higher risk than adults of the negative effects of secondhand smoke. Not only is a child's body still developing physically, but their breathing rate is faster than that of adults. Adults breathe in and out approximately 14 to 18 times a minute, where newborns can breathe as many as 60 times a minute. Up until a child is about 5 years old, the respiratory rate is quite fast; usually between 20 and 60 breaths per minute.
When the air is tainted with cigarette smoke, young, developing lungs receive a higher concentration of inhaled toxins than do older lungs. And think about it: young children have less control over their surroundings than the rest of us. Babies can't move to another room because the air is smoky. They depend on us to provide them with clean air to breathe. Facts About Secondhand Smoke and Children
Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy often weigh less when they are born than those who are born to non smoking mothers. Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are at an increased risk for developmental issues such as learning disabilities and cerebral palsy. SIDS (sudden infant Death Syndrome) Fetuses exposed to chemicals in cigarettes through the placenta are thought to be at an increased risk of SIDS. There are a variety of opinions about the role secondhand smoke plays after birth in SIDS deaths, but a California EPA study has estimated that between 1900 and 2700 children die annually of SIDS due to secondhand smoke exposure. Children who spend one hour in an extremely smoky room inhale enough toxic chemicals to equal smoking 10 cigarettes. Asthma - the EPA estimates that between 200,000 and 1,000,000 kids with asthma have their condition worsened by secondhand smoke. Passive smoking may also be responsible for thousands of new cases of asthma every year. Among children under 18 months of age in the United States, secondhand smoke is associated with as many as 300,000 cases of bronchitis or pneumonia each year....
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