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June 2020

Secondhand Smoke and Secondhand Vaping: Both Bad for Kids

You’ve probably heard about the health risks of secondhand smoke. Now there’s growing evidence that being around vaping is also risky for kids.

Secondhand smoke can come from a lit cigarette or be breathed out by a smoker. It contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Many are toxic. Exposure to secondhand smoke has been linked to:

  • A higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome in babies

  • More frequent bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections in babies and children

  • More frequent and severe asthma attacks in kids who already have asthma

An emerging threat

Secondhand vaping is similar. Kids can be exposed to the aerosol from e-cigarettes. It may contain a number of harmful substances, including nicotine.

In a paper in the journal Pediatrics, doctors looked at how nicotine from e-cigarette aerosol may affect children. Reviewing past research, they found that nicotine can harm the nervous, respiratory, immune, and cardiovascular systems. Because children’s bodies are still developing, they’re especially vulnerable to these effects.

What parents can do

To protect your child:

  • Keep your home smoke-free.

  • Ban smoking in your vehicle.

  • Ask other people, such as grandparents and babysitters, not to smoke around your child.

And based on the Pediatrics paper, don’t let your child be anywhere near vaping, either.


Online Medical Reviewer: Rina Lazebnik, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2020
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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