Kids Strapped in for Secondhand Smoke

A local mom talks about seeing children buckled into a car as the driver smoked.

I don’t know how other people feel about taking two boys under the age of 3 to the grocery store, but I can tell you I avoided it at all cost. However, on one particular day, I had no choice but to brave the store with my boys. While shopping I noticed another mom with two small children about the same age as my boys. We passed each other a few times around the store and I could tell she was struggling keeping her kids contained, as was I. As I was checking out I passed her one more time, we smiled at each other and had an unspoken mom moment of, “we can get through this.” After I got my groceries loaded and kids buckled into their car seat, I noticed this mom one more time pulling out of the parking lot, but I was sad to see her two kids buckled in the back seat of the car and a cigarette in her hand.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “88 million nonsmoking Americans, including 54 percent of children aged 3–11 years, are exposed to secondhand smoke. Even brief exposure can be dangerous because nonsmokers inhale many of the same poisons in cigarette smoke as smokers.” In addition, the CDC reports that an estimated 443,000 or 1 in 5 deaths each year are caused by cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can have negative health effects because the nonsmokers are still exposed to harmful chemicals and pollutants.

The U.S. Surgeon General reports have stated that secondhand smoke has negative health implications and that smoking and tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. The following findings are from Surgeon General reports in regards to secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure:

  • SHS causes disease in children and in adults who don’t smoke.
  • Exposure to SHS while pregnant increases the chance that a woman will have a spontaneous abortion, still-born birth, low birth-weight baby, and other pregnancy and delivery problems.
  • There is no safe level of exposure to SHS. Any exposure is harmful.
  • On average, children are exposed to more SHS than non-smoking adults.
  • Smoking by parents can cause wheezing, coughing, bronchitis, and pneumonia, and slow lung growth in their children.

After reading this list, my thoughts keep going back to those two little kids buckled into their seatbelts with no choice at all but to be exposed to their mother’s secondhand smoke.

[Ed. Note: California law prohibits smoking in cars with minors.]

My intention in writing this article is not to “bash” smokers, but to act as a reminder that smoking not only impacts your health, but the health of everyone around you. For those smokers who make a conscious effort to smoke in designated areas and avoid smoking around children, your efforts are very much appreciated.

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john davidson October 11, 2012 at 02:58 AM
I also support protecting residents in multi-family units who unfairly suffer from their neighbors’ secondhand smoke Schuman's Expert Witnesses Testify in Secondhand Smoke Trial The plaintiff's expert witnesses spoke up on day three of David Schuman's case against his housing cooperative, Greenbelt Homes, Inc. (GHI), for its failure to prohibit the nuisance created by his townhome neighbors, the Popovics', secondhand smoke. Courtroom and Plaintiff's Townhome Register Similar Carcinogen Levels But, an incident from Repace’s testimony Thursday came back into play Friday during cross examination. Goecke pointed out that on Thursday, while demonstrating the carcinogen monitor, Repace had measured the concentration of carcinogens in the court room — which is in a smoke-free building — and the amount he recorded there was similar to what Repace had reported recording in Schuman’s townhome in July of 2011. greenbelt.patch.com/articles/schumans-expert-witnesses-testify-in-secondhand-smoke-trial
john davidson October 11, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA
Dave Copeland October 12, 2012 at 04:11 PM
"The United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified secondhand smoke in the most dangerous class of carcinogens" ...and the studies used by the EPA were thrown out of court. The judge said.... "The EPA 'cherry picked' its data." and "The EPA deviated from acceptable scientific procedure...to ENSURE A PREORDAINED OUTCOME." In other words they cheated...they faked it, http://archive.tobacco.org/Documents/980717osteen.html
Kathy October 25, 2012 at 03:46 AM
My Family on the Maternal and Paternal side for 6 generations that I know of, were all smokers, even during pregnancy. Guess what, NOT ONE of these family members that have passed on, died of Cancer or any smoking related illness. In fact, all but 4 lived well into their late 80's, the other 4, 2 died in automobile accidents do to drinking and 2 died of Cirrhosi of the Liver. Cigarettes way back didn't have a filter, straight Tobacco. I am so tired of hearing whinning of second hand smoke. WAKE UP and accept that the air you breathe outside these days is not much healthier then second hand smoke and if you don;t believe it, then your a FOOL. How many Parent(s) drive drunk with their children in the car? How many of those are responsible for killing their own kids or other people? Now, let's get down to the real problem with this Post. I took my 3 children shopping about 50% of the time, They walked next to me and kept their hands to themselves. I NEVER had to "struggle" and was always proud of how my children behaved in public and at home. If children are taught manners, respect and discipline, then you should be able to take your children with you anywhere and not be embarrassed, struggling or exhausted. Just a suggestion, of course. Did you think while you were condemning this woman for her behavior, others might of been condemning you at the same time for your children's behavior? Thou Shall Not Judge


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