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Dangers of Smoking with Kids in the Car

Car smoking with kidsPound for pound, our children are more vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke. They breathe more rapidly and take in more secondhand smoke than adults. Also, a child’s developing body is more susceptible to the toxins in cigarette smoke, and over time exposure may lead to respiratory problems, asthma and other illnesses. It can even increase an infant’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes from the burning end of a tobacco product and is also the smoke that a smoker breathes out. When someone smokes in a car, secondhand smoke can be up to 27 times more concentrated than in a smoker’s home due to the restricted area. And, by the time it takes to smoke half a cigarette, the air quality in a parked car can reach up to 10 times the hazardous level on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index.

Some people mistakenly believe that smoking with the window down will protect a child against its harmful effects. A  Harvard School of Public Health study found that whether the window was open slightly or wide open, secondhand smoke levels exceeded the EPA’s Air Quality Index. So unfortunately, the levels of secondhand smoke can be extremely high even with the windows wide open.

It is undeniable that exposing children to secondhand smoke – in cars or any enclosed space – creates very serious dangers. Eliminating smoking in vehicles and other indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect children and others from smoke exposure.