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 found deeper in the lungs where gas exchange occurs
- 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, increased phlegm production
- Colds and other viral illnesses
- Lower lung infections like pneumonia and acute bronchitis
Clear the Air
American Lung Association http://www.lung.org
Smoke Free http://www.smokefree.gov
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada http://www.smoke-free.ca
The Lung Association http://lung.ca
Anticipatory guidance (pediatric preventive care). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 16, 2015. Accessed April 21, 2015.
Asthma and 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 September 2014. Accessed April 21, 2015.
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 April 21, 2015.
Matt GET, Quintana PJE, et al. Households contaminated by environmental tobacco smoke: sources of infant exposures. Tobacco Control. 2004;13(1):29-37.
Risk factors for asthma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 15, 2014. Accessed April 21, 2015.
Secondhand smoke. American Lung Association website: Available at: http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/health-effects/secondhand-smoke.html. Accessed April 21, 2015.
Smoke-free homes. US Environmental Protection Agency website. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/smokefree. Accessed April 21, 2015.
Tobacco use. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/TobaccoUse/SecondhandSmoke. Accessed April 21, 2015.
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 April 21, 2015.
5/21/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Yolton K, Xu Y, et al. Associations between secondhand smoke exposure and sleep patterns in children. Pediatrics. 2010;125(2):e261-e268.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 04/2015 -
- Update Date: 04/21/2015 -
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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