How many of you smoke around your children without a second thought? Well, read these frightening statistics and maybe you will think again!
1) Seventy-five percent of children are aware if cigarettes before they reach the age of five, whether their parents smoke or not.
2) By the age of 10, 40 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls have had at least a few puffs of a cigarette.
How Smoking Affects Children:
Children who smoke are more susceptible to coughs and increased phlegm and more prone to chest illness. A recent study revealed that children who smoke are three times more likely to have time off school. The earlier children become regular smokers and persist in the habit as adults, the greater their risk of dying prematurely.
In terms of fitness, a child who smokes will have poorer cardio-respiratory system and find aerobic exercise more difficult. Smoke articles irritate the lining of the lungs and smoking can reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cells. This means that the heart and muscles cannot work as efficiently as they receive less oxygen.
Many children are victims of passive smoking. This is much more of a problem than most parents realize. Do you, your partner or anyone else smoke in your home? If so, you are putting your children’s health at risk.
Children of parents who smoke during the child’s first year of life show significantly greater risk of bronchitis, cancer in adulthood and other respiratory illnesses.
Children whose mothers smoke ten or more cigarettes a day after the fourth month of pregnancy, show poorer progress at school, at least up to the age of 16.
If your child is a victim of passive smoking, he or she will have a reduced lung function and be at greater risk of asthma. If your child has asthma, he or she may find it very uncomfortable to exercise in cold, dry air because this can constrict their airways. Smoking can exacerbate asthma attacks.
Helpful Tips for Parents:
1) Don’t nag. Be understanding and allow your children to talk honestly about why they smoke and why they do or don’t want to stop.
2) Talk to them about the immediate effects of smoking, such as the smell on their breath and hair. The long-term effects of smoking are likely to have less impact.
3) Encourage them to socialize with friends who don’t smoke and actively direct them towards sport and healthy activities.
4) Ask visitors not to smoke in your house.
5) Offer your children an incentive to quit and set a date with them. If you smoke, quit with them, but if you truly can’t manage it, always discourage them from smoking.
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