Babies who were around second-hand smoke before they were born can weigh less than normal at birth. This is because chemicals in second-hand smoke affect how they grow and develop. And if a new mother smokes, some chemicals such as nicotine go directly from her breast milk to her baby. Babies who breathe in second-hand smoke are more likely to get sick than other babies and to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Babies crawl on the floor and often put things in their mouths. This means they take in more dust than adults and in turn more third-hand smoke.
Children’s bodies are still growing, and they breathe faster than adults. This means they breathe in more harmful chemicals if they’re around second-hand smoke. Plus, their immune systems are less developed and can’t protect them as well.
Babies and children of parents who smoke are more likely to:
have breathing problems like wheezing and coughs
develop ear infections
have chronic lung disease when they’re older
develop asthma, and their asthma will be worse
Second-hand smoke may even harm the ability of your children and teens to read and do math. Children who are around second-hand smoke tend to do less well in school than children in smoke-free homes.