I don't think it is any news to anyone that smoking is a very bad idea. Parents should be aware of exactly what the costs are in terms of their childrens' health if they choose to continue their habit. It is one thing to go on smoking if one believes he affects only his own health; it is entirely another moral decision to continue smoking, knowing that his children will suffer serious health consequences through no fault of their own. (Obviously, this applies equally to both parents - "he" is chosen for linguistic simplicity.)
Adverse effects of parental smoking:
- SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is more likely to happen to babies who have one or more smoking parent.
- SGA (Small for Gestational Age) babies are associated with maternal smoking during pregnancy. Nicotine causes the blood vessels in the placenta to constrict, and reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. SGA babies are known to have lower IQ's, as well as being smaller in adulthood.
- Asthma is more likely to develop in children of smokers and parental smoking makes control and treatment much more difficult. Cigaret smoke is a major environmental trigger of asthma attacks. Poorly controlled asthma in childhood causes permanent lung damage and will result in increased respiratory disease in adulthood, often ultimately leading to chronic bronchitis, emphasema, and lung cancer.
- Children of smokers have 30% more respiratory tract infections, including ear infections (otitis media) with all their complications (hearing loss, speech and language development problems), colds, sinus infections, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia.
- Recent research has shown that children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are have twice the incidence of ADHD.
- Let's face it: your children are more likely to smoke both now and in adulthood if you do. ("Can anyone here say role model?") If quitting is so hard for you - do you honestly wish that struggle to fall someday on your child?
These harmful effects on children have been documented in scientific study after scientific study. Parents who say, "Well, we never smoke around him," or "I never smoke in the house," are kidding themselves. That makes no difference in these studies.
If you can't quit smoking for your own good, for goodness sake do it for your children. How selfish can you be?