Caring For Your Baby

A new baby brings joy but also challenges to daily life. We are here to help and make sure you feel confident caring for your baby when you leave the hospital as well as in the weeks, months and years to follow.

Smoking

Woman breaking cigarette in half

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for the health of both you and your baby. Not only will it help you live longer, but it will prevent them from any risk of passive smoking which can be very dangerous for their young lungs.

As part of our passion to help everyone live longer, healthier lives, we offer a range of programs and help.

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Smoking Cessation – Delaware Quitline 866-409-1858.

Smoking and Your Baby's Health

Secondhand and thirdhand smoke pose serious threats

You’ve probably heard that smoking can lead to such health conditions as emphysema, lung cancer and heart disease. In fact, cigarette smoking can harm nearly every organ in the body, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Women who smoke while pregnant are at a higher risk of experiencing such complications as preterm labor (labor that starts before 37 weeks), premature birth and low birthweight babies.

However, the threat to your baby’s health does not end with delivery, regardless of whether a smoker is in or outside of the room.

How does tobacco smoke affect my baby’s health?

There are two sources of secondhand smoke (SHS): the smoker’s exhalation and the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar. People around a smoker can inhale up to 7,000 chemicals from SHS, according to the American Cancer Society. At least 70 of these chemicals can cause cancer.

Babies are vulnerable because their lungs are still developing. SHS increases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the American Cancer Society reports. What’s more, children who are repeatedly around SHS get sick more often than those in non-smoking households.

They suffer from more lung infections, and they cough, wheeze and experience shortness of breath more often. Children with asthma are especially sensitive to SHS, which can trigger the attacks, and SHS has also been linked to ear infections.

Studies have found that adolescents of parents who smoke are more likely to smoke.

I don’t smoke but relatives who visit regularly do. Is that an issue?

Yes. If grandparents, family, friends and babysitters smoke, they are still putting the child at risk.

What if we smoke outside?

Researchers are now studying the effects of thirdhand smoke, which refers to the toxins that cling to a smoker’s clothes, hair and other surfaces, such as your car upholstery. The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that thirdhand smoke is also harmful. Research has found that the residual chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled months — and possibly years — after a tobacco cigarette was extinguished.

What can I do?

Practice the “Avoid, Alter and Substitute” approach.

  • Avoid smoking cues, such as places and homes where smoking is allowed. Cigarette packages and ashtrays are also cues that might tempt you to smoke.
  • Alter your routine. If you usually smoke after meals, brush your teeth instead. Like orange juice, cigarettes taste unpleasant after toothpaste.
  • Substitute cigarettes with items that can ease the craving, such as candies, chewing gum, nicotine-less vapor devices and electronic cigarettes. Stay busy with work and recreational activities to avoid thinking about smoking.

Other tips:

  • Minimize the baby’s contact with smoke and smokers.
  • Have a smoke-free home and car.
  • If smokers visit, ask them to keep their belongings — such as a coat or purse — away from the baby.
  • Remember that secondhand smoke is a problem, even if you’re outside.

If you smoke, the best thing you can do for you and your family is to quit. Christiana Care offers a face-to-face smoking-cessation program that helps you identify situations that trigger you to smoke and develop strategies to kick the habit. A trained smoking cessation coach meets with you three times to help you plan for a tobacco-free life. To register for individualized, face-to-face smoking cessation sessions, call 800-693-2273. For additional information about this free program, call 302-623-4661.

For more information, visit:

Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Christiana Care Health System Pulmonary Rehabilitation
American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Delaware Quitline

Medical Reviewer:
Yukiko Washio, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Director, Implementation and Clinical Research
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Christiana Care Health System
Affiliated Assistant Professor, University of Delaware
Date Last Reviewed: September 24, 2018

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    Seminars & Classes

    24
    Sep

    Face-to-Face Smoking Cessation

    Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Three free individualized, coaching sessions help you go SMOKE FREE. Available through the Community Health Outreach and Educatio...

    Find out more
    25
    Sep

    Face-to-Face Smoking Cessation

    Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Three free individualized, coaching sessions help you go SMOKE FREE. Available through the Community Health Outreach and Educatio...

    Find out more