Secondhand Smoke And Behavioral Problems

It is fairly common knowledge that smoking can cause cancer and heart disease, but did you know that smoking around your children or while pregnant can cause behavioral problems?

Several studies have shown that early exposure to secondhand smoke (and smoking during pregnancy) can lead to behavioral problems, especially emotional and conduct disorders. One study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that being exposed to secondhand smoke made it 50 percent more likely that children would develop neurobehavioral disorders like ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities, and behavior disorders.

Children’s bodies are developing rapidly, putting them at a higher risk for adverse side effects. Animal studies have shown that the nicotine in secondhand smoke can have a neurotoxic effect on the brain. Other studies during pregnancy show that nicotine not only causes structural changes in the brain, but it can affect the growth of neurons.

Secondhand smoke also puts children at risk for lung infections, asthma, ear infections, and SIDS.

As a parent, you are in an excellent position to protect your child from secondhand smoke:
  • Do not allow others to smoke in your home, car, or around your children.
  • Make sure that any babysitters or caregivers do not smoke.
  • Avoid restaurants or places that allow smoking. Separating smokers into their own section, airing out rooms, or opening your car’s window does not get rid of all the secondhand smoke.
  • Teach your children how to avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Be a good example. Parents who smoke are more likely to pass the habit along to their children.

If you are struggling with the habit, there are resources out there like Tobacco Free Florida that can help [Link: ]. If your child is showing signs of serious behavioral problems, give us a call to schedule an appoint with your local pediatrician here at MacKoul Pediatrics Cape Coral .

If you have concerns, please don't hesitate to give us a call to schedule an appointment. MacKoul Pediatrics of Cape Coral is here to help your child be as healthy and as happy as possible, and we are here to help answer any questions you might have. Just give us a call at (239) 573-2001.