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Children And Second Hand Smoke Essay

2932 words - 12 pages

One of my favorite past times with my children are early evening walks embracing nature, knowledge, and fresh air. The scenery is breathtaking, especially with the assurance of autumn in the brisk air. Specifically, during this certain time of the year, I find great satisfaction in taking a deep breath and inhaling the fragrant aroma of nature, of fresh air, clean, and crisp. Yet, my joy hastily ends when the sudden smell of cigarette smoke engulfs me and my children. Sound familiar? Something must be done about this intrusion upon non-smoker's rights. Is our health so meaningless as to be put at the mercy of carcinogens and toxins? What about innocent children, who protects their body ...view middle of the document...

According to statistics by the EPA:
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. EPA estimates that between 150,000 and 300,000 of these cases annually in infants and young children up to 18 months of age are attributable to exposure to ETS. Of these, between 7,500 and 15,000 will result in hospitalization. ETS exposure in children irritates the upper respiratory tract and is associated with a small but significant reduction in lung function. (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1993)
Older children whose parents smoke tend to get sick more easily compared to children who are not exposed to secondhand smoke. Coughing, wheezing, phlegm, and breathlessness are more common when the child is exposed to secondhand smoke. They can also contract bronchitis and pneumonia more often than a child with non-smoking parents. Secondhand smoke is very harmful for individuals of all ages, but the extensive ramifications towards small children show much higher than the consequences to young adults. Exposure of such significant risk seems not to deter the average smoker.
Why are certain illnesses more prone to secondhand smoke than others? What exactly are these illnesses and how are they contracted? The most common known sickness from secondhand smoke is pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection that is dangerous especially to the people who have weaker immune systems such as children and the elderly. Children are more susceptible to this type of illness because it affects certain organs that are still developing in their bodies. This infection is both treatable and preventable, yet children are still dying from such illnesses with secondhand smoke being a contributing factor for the health hazards of our youth: “Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection in the lungs that kills approximately 1.6 million children every year, making it the leading cause of child deaths worldwide” (“Pneumonia”, 2013). Another well-known sickness that occurs from secondhand smoke is bronchitis and asthma: “Tobacco smoke is the cause of more than 80% of all cases of chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is most common in smokers. Smoking (even for a brief time) and being around tobacco smoke, chemical fumes, and other air pollutants for long periods of time puts a person at risk for developing chronic bronchitis.” (Dowshen, 2010) Bronchitis is well known for individuals exposed to secondhand smoke because, the smoke intake from the non-smoker moves in into their lungs. Thus, the amount of smoke that the non-smoker intakes into the lungs causes the bronchi and mucus brain to then become inflamed causing the infection to the non-smoker. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for almost 25 million Americans, including an estimated 7 million children....

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