Smoking Harms Infants and Children
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- Each time a pregnant woman smokes, her baby’s heart rate increases.
- When a pregnant woman smokes, her baby gets less oxygen.
- The birth weight of babies born to smokers is lower than the birth weight of babies born to nonsmokers.
- Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of the baby being born dead.
- Babies whose mothers smoke have a greater risk of dying from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Harmful chemicals from smoking pass through the placenta and directly into the baby’s blood.
- If the mother continues to smoke after the baby is born, the baby is more likely to get chest colds, ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma.
- Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to cry, sneeze, and cough than are babies who are not.
- Children who grow up in a home with smokers are more likely to become smokers.
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Information on this page is taken from the English print version of “Healthy Heart, Healthy Family: A Community Health Worker's Manual.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH Publication No. 08-3674, Originally Printed 1999, Revised May 2008.
Last Updated March 2012