Effects of pollution and tobacco on the baby

Effects of pollution and tobacco on the baby

Exposure to tobacco smoke is very harmful to the baby, both during pregnancy and as a newborn.

Environmental pollution and tobacco are airway irritants that can favor the incidence of cough and asthma in children. In urban areas, pollutants are produced by motor vehicles and factories. In rural areas, pesticides and the burning of some substances such as coal or wood are also harmful.

Exposure to tobacco smoke

Passive smoking in babies refers to the inhalation of the combustion products of tobacco smoked by people who are around them. Tobacco smoke is one of the most widespread and harmful health contaminating agents. In 2002, the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that exposure to air polluted by tobacco smoke causes cancer.

Tobacco smoke is a combination of more than 4,000 toxic chemicals and includes at least 42 cancer-causing components. It is not surprising that the inhalation of tobacco, even in small amounts, has important consequences for the health of the child. Most of the toxic substances (85%) are found in the combustion of cigarettes and 15% are found in the smoke exhaled by the smoker.

Some of the components of cigarette combustion are: ammonia, nicotine, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, toluene, hydrocyanide, vinyl chloride, benzene or carbon monoxide.

Effects of tobacco smoke during pregnancy

Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have a premature birth and a low birth weight baby.

Effects of tobacco smoke on the baby

In industrialized countries, passive smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in children.

Increasing importance is given to the impact of passive smoking on children and adults. In most scientific studies in children, a relationship has been found between passive smoking and childhood diseases.

Children exposed to tobacco smoke suffer more frequently from respiratory infections (pneumonia and bronchitis) and asthma. They are also more likely to have acute otitis media.

Passive smoking in babies is a risk factor for sudden infant death.


The best prevention is tobacco cessation by parents to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke in the home.

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