Half of Spanish children live with a smoker

Tobacco is not only harmful to smokers. The smoke they give off also affects those around them. Many are the effects of those who breathe in this environment, a reminder that it is important to perform on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day celebrated on May 31.

A reminder that Juan Antonio Ortega, coordinator of the Environmental Health Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) focuses on children. In Spain, half of the minors live in environments with the presence of smoke from tobacco, a more harmful source than many of the air pollutants put together.

Effective measures

According to Dr. Ortega, there are many parents who try to reduce the exposure of their children to tobacco smoke. However, the measures they use are ineffective, such as smoking with the window open, the kitchen door closed or in spaces as far away as the storage room.

Many of them are unaware that the smoke is very ubiquitous and persistent. This is because it weighs more than the air and the particles remain impregnated on the surfaces, so that they are inhaled subsequently for the children.

You also have to take into account the so-called "Secondhand smoke", that is to say, the environmental smoke that is formed by the mixture of the exhaled by the smoking parents and the one that comes from the combustion of the ember of the cigarette.This smoke" is of worse quality than the one that the smoker inhales, since as it is a slow combustion in it concentrates a number of chemical substances much greater than only in the mainstream ".

The second-hand smoke, in total, contains 4,000 chemical substances, and more than 40 of them are carcinogenic. The environment it generates is a cause of cancer in nonsmokers and increases and is associated with a multitude of diseases in childhood.

AEP also alerts the smoke of third hand, which is the one that comes from the burning of the ember of the cigarette. "This smoke is characterized by a high concentration of particles and gases that weigh more than the air that are concentrated below one meter in height and, therefore, are more toxic for children and end up adhering to objects with which they play or they touch: furniture, curtains, carpet, car ... Through contact, children can be exposed to many of the chemical compounds of tobacco, since they can put their hands in their mouths, "explains Dr. Ortega.

Prevention of passive smoking

As seen, passive smoking is too present in the lives of children. Prevent it at home is very important and these are some tips to overcome this problem:

- Create smoke-free spaces at home. Ideally, in any corner of the house should be smoked, if this is difficult, it is best to reserve cigarettes for balconies and terraces.

- No tobacco in the car. The car is a closed space where it is difficult not to breathe the smoke that comes from cigarettes.

- In open spaces such as parks, it is recommended that smoking parents stay away from their children at the time of smoking to avoid that they are close to smoke.

- Give up smoking. Willpower, courage and the bull. The best recipe to avoid passive smoking is to eliminate cigarettes in everyone's daily life at home.

Damián Montero

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