Clearing the Air for Your Baby
Tiny Lungs, Smoky Air
Bronchioles and bronchi—tubes that allow oxygen to travel from the mouth into the lungs
- The chemicals in the smoke can cause irritation, swelling, and inflammation in these tubes. This can greatly reduce the size of the path for air, much like breathing through a straw.
Alveoli—tiny air sacs at the tip of the lungs that pass oxygen from the lungs to the blood
- Alveoli continue to develop after birth to help with oxygen exchange in the lungs. Secondhand smoke exposure affects alveoli development. Reducing the amount of oxygen to the body increases the risk of infection.
Surfactant—fluid that lines the inside of the lungs, making it easier for the lungs to expand and pass oxygen to the blood
- Surfactant continues to be produced after birth to keep the lungs expanded. Exposing your baby to secondhand smoke interferes with this development, and may prevent your baby’s lungs from making the right amount of surfactant. Low amounts can affect the ability for your baby’s lungs to expand and contract properly.
Sickness in the Smoke
- Coughing, wheezing, phlegm
- Colds and other viral illnesses
- Lower lung infections like pneumonia and bronchitis
Clear the Air
American Lung Association http://www.lung.org
Smoke Free http://www.smokefree.gov
Canadian Lung Association http://lung.ca
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada http://www.smoke-free.ca
Anticipatory guidance (pediatric preventive care). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated August 14, 2013. Accessed September 9, 2013.
Asthma & children fact sheet. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/resources/facts-and-figures/asthma-children-fact-sheet.html . Updated October 2012. Accessed September 9, 2013.
Chapter 6. Respiratory effects in children from exposure to seconhand smoke. The health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke: a report of the Surgeon General. United States Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/secondhandsmoke/chapter6.pdf . Accessed September 9, 2013.
Matt GET, Quintana PJE, et al. Households contaminated by environmental tobacco smoke: sources of infant exposures. Tobacco Control. 2004; 13:29-37.
Risk factors for asthma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated April 17, 2013. Accessed September 9, 2013.
Secondhand smoke. American Lung Association website: Available at: http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/health-effects/secondhand-smoke.html . Accessed September 9, 2013.
Smoke-free homes. US Environmental Protection Agency website. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/smokefree . Accessed September 9, 2013.
Tobacco use. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/TobaccoUse/SecondhandSmoke . Updated September 7, 2010. Accessed September 9, 2013.
Villamagna D. Smoking and breastfeeding. From: LEAVEN, Vol. 40 No. 4, August-September 2004. La Leche League International website. Available at: http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVAugSep04p75.html . Accessed September 9, 2013.
5/21/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Yolton K, Xu Y, Khoury J, et al. Associations between secondhand smoke exposure and sleep patterns in children. Pediatrics. 2010;125(2):e261-268.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/09/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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