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Affects Kids

Affects on Kids

  • Illness. Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to experience lower respiratory illnesses and decreased lung function.
  • Ear Infections. Exposure of children to secondhand smoke can cause middle ear disease, including acute and recurrent otitis media, and chronic middle ear effusion.
  • Asthma. Exposure of school-age children to SHS can cause asthma, cough, phlegm, wheezing and shortness of breath. It can also cause wheezing illnesses in early childhood.
  • SUIDS. Exposure of infants to SHS can cause sudden unexplained infant death (SUIDS). There are 430 deaths annually in the U.S. from SUIDS because of exposure of the infant to secondhand smoke.  The evidence indicates that these exposures are one of the major preventable risk factor for SUIDS and all measures should be taken to protect infants from secondhand smoke exposure.  About 2500 babies die of SUIDS each year in the U.S. An unborn baby's exposure to secondhand smoke can result in low birth weight, SUIDS and possible other adverse health effects.
  • Dr.'s Visits. Exposure to secondhand smoke leads to over 500,000 physician visits for asthma and 1.3 million visits for coughs, and to more than 115,000 episodes of pneumonia, 260,000 episodes of bronchitis, 2 million cases of middle ear infections and 5,200 middle ear operations.


Kids' Exposure Widespread

An estimated 15.5 million children in the US, and over 716,000 children in Michigan, are exposed to secondhand smoke. In detail: 

  • Twenty-two percent of middle school students and 24% of high school students are exposed to secondhand smoke in the home.
  • Thirteen percent of all youth in middle school and 15% of all youth in high school are exposed to secondhand smoke in a car every day.
  • Forty-six percent of all youth in middle school are exposed to secondhand smoke in a car at least once a week. 


Sources: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 2011. A Report of Surgeon General, Atlanta, GA 2006: The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke.