The Effects of Passive Smoking on the Health of Children

Introduction: The harmful effects of passive smoking on the health of children have been documented by many studies, which have shown that it is associated with serious health problems both before and after they reach adulthood. Aim: To review the negative effects of passive smoking on health in childhood. Method: The review included research and review articles published during the period 2000-2011 and retrieved from the electronic databases PubMed, Cinahl, Wiley Online Library, Medline and IATROTEK, using the key-words “children”, “passive smoking”, “report”, “adverse effects”, “pregnancy”, “breastfeeding”. The retrieved articles were evaluated for relevance to this review and only those closely related to the subject were selected. Results: Review of studies confirmed that children’s exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is especially dangerous, both intra utero and after birth at all stages of childhood. Globally, more than 700 million children and 500 million pregnant women are exposed to secondhand smoke daily. Children’s exposure to passive smoking occurs in 48.9% of cases in their place of residence and in 60.9% in public areas. Passive smoking is reported to be associated with sudden infant death and pneumonia, bronchitis, encephalitis, asthma, respiratory diseases and diseases of the middle ear during early childhood and school age, and to increase the likelihood of malignancy and behavioural disorders in adulthood. The researchers propose banning smoking indoors, and frequent, good airing. They encourage family members who smoke to quit and they promote information and health education programmes on the rights of non-smokers and the harmful effects of passive smoking. Conclusions: Minimizing the exposure of children to passive smoking should be among the main goals of interventional studies and organized health education programmes designed to raise awareness, improve education and provide counselling for parents.

Category: Volume 54, N 2
Hits: 935 Hits
Created Date: 15-06-2015
Authors: Efrosini Vlachioti , Vasiliki Matziou