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Letter: Don’t expose children to secondhand smoke

Don’t expose children to secondhand smoke

Tobacco smoke can be deadly to children. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the death of a seemingly healthy baby in his sleep, due to an apparent spontaneous cessation of breathing. While the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, there are known contributors, including sleep position, environment and tobacco use by caretakers.

Secondhand smoke contains the same 7,000 chemicals that are in cigarettes, including nearly 70 known cancer-causing compounds. Infants exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to die from SIDS. There are other health risks for infants and children exposed to secondhand smoke, such as more ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. Children can also develop asthma, or have more severe asthma attacks, when they are exposed to secondhand smoke. Severe asthma attacks can be fatal.

If you smoke in your home, please consider the risks to your children. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about the benefits of a smoke-free home. Smoke outside, at least 25 feet away from any windows, doors or air intake vents. Better yet, consider quitting altogether.

Why not eliminate this risk factor for SIDS and other health hazards? Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking. It is the best thing you can do for your family’s health. The New York State Smokers’ Quitline provides a free tobacco cessation service for all New York residents. To start your journey toward living tobacco-free, call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).

Emily Foschio

Tobacco Control Specialist

Roswell Park Cancer Institute

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