You, Your Baby and Tobacco Use

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released updated Public Health Service smoking cessation guidelines in June 2000. The American Heart Association supports these guidelines, which offer great hope to the 49 million American smokers who would like to quit.

Parents who continue to smoke tobacco are putting their children’s lives at risk. Second-hand smoke comes from the burning end of a cigarette. This smoke is filled with more tar, poisonous gases (i.e. formaldehyde), and nicotine than the smoke inhaled by the actual smoker.

What happens when people smoke around babies?
• Babies have tiny lungs and airways. Breathing air filled with smoke causes these airways to become even smaller, making it harder for them to breathe.
• Babies and young children breathe much faster than adults so they will breathe in more environmental smoke than adults.
• Children of parents who smoke have more ear infections, colds, allergies, sore throats, and other lung problems during their first year of life causing them to cry and fuss more.
• Babies may have frequent bouts of colic or stomach upset when they are around second-hand smoke.
• Second-hand smoke increases asthma symptoms.
• Babies exposed to second-hand smoke have a greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
• Babies of parents who smoke are at risk for burns from the ashes falling from the end of a cigarette or serious burn injuries and death may occur from fires caused by cigarette smoking.

As babies grow
Children’s lungs grow more slowly if their parents smoke. Children of parents who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers later in life.

What can YOU do?
• Do not allow people to smoke in the same house or car as your baby.
• If you or anyone in your household smokes, please stop smoking!

Smoking leads to a physical and emotional dependency on nicotine. Consequently, it is difficult–but not impossible–to stop smoking. Most likely you will need help.

Please try to quit smoking:
• Speak to your nurse and he/she can provide you with a Smoking Cessation Patient Education Handbook.
• Seek assistance from your health care provider; he/she can discuss several smoking cessation options that are available to you.
• Call 1-800-TRY -TO -STO P for community resources and more ideas on how to quit or log on to: or

The good news for you is that at one year after quitting, the risk of heart disease is cut in half. After 5 to 15 years of being smoke free, the risk is similar to that of a person who never smoked. The good news for your baby is an increased likelihood of a happy and healthy life.