Secondhand smoke isn’t quite as toxic as firsthand smoke, but that’s small comfort. It still contains over 4,000 chemicals that have no business in your body, including carbon monoxide, a gas often used in suicides, and 40 cancer-causing agents, including benzopyrene, a potent cancer-inducing chemical.
Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmokers each year. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers. Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion.
Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. It can be difficult to stop smoking, but it’s never too late to quit. According to the American Lung Association, there are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, cigarettes create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are toxic.
The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
All forms of tobacco are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. Even smokeless tobacco use is highly addictive and damaging to health. Smokeless tobacco contains many cancer-causing toxins and its use increases the risk of cancers of the head, neck, throat, esophagus, and oral cavity (including cancer of the mouth, tongue, lip, and gums) as well as various dental diseases. Tobacco growing farmers are also exposed to a number of health risks, including the “green tobacco sickness”.
What does smoking while pregnant do to the baby?
Tobacco smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of health problems for developing babies, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and birth defects of the mouth and lip. Smoking during and after pregnancy also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Does Occasional Second-Hand Smoke While Pregnant Cause Harm?
Yes, if your partner or anyone else who lives with you smokes, their smoke can affect you and your baby before and after their birth. You may also find it more difficult to stop if someone around you smokes.
Secondhand smoke can also reduce your baby’s birth weight and increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as “cot death”. Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to be admitted to the hospital for bronchitis and pneumonia during their first year.
According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking and exposure to raises the likelihood of both early miscarriage and stillbirth. The dangerous chemicals in cigarettes are often to blame.
The placenta is the “lifeline” structure that forms during pregnancy to provide the fetus with nutrients and oxygen. Smoking is a major risk factor for several complications linked to the placenta. One such problem is placenta abruption. This is a condition in which the placenta separates from the uterus before childbirth. Placenta abruption can cause severe bleeding and threaten the life of both the mother and the baby. There’s no surgery or treatment to reattach it. Immediate medical attention may help increase the chance of a healthy birth despite placenta abruption.
In addition, smoking is also a risk factor for placenta previa. During pregnancy, the placenta normally grows in the uterus towards the top of the womb. This leaves the cervix open for delivery. Placenta previa is when the placenta stays in the lower part of the uterus, partially or fully covering the cervix. The placenta often tears, causing excessive bleeding and depriving the fetus of vital nutrients and oxygen.