Patient: Hi, please can you help. I smoke and I usually avoid smoking around other people. However I work at a hospital and I went outside the hospital and I lit up a cigarette and I didn’t see there was a woman with a baby and I stood near them smoking for around a minute and now I am worried that the baby might die of sids and it will be my fault. Is this possible?
Doctor: HelloThank you for writing to askthedoctor.com.Passive smoking or second-hand smoking is the smoke we breathe in f rom other people’s cigarettes.As infants have smaller airways they breathe faster. So, they inhale harmful chemicals faster than adults at the same time. At the same time they have less mature immune system.Second-hand smoke hangs around for up to five hours. It gets left on furniture, carpets and clothing. This means babies and children are still exposed to it even after adults have finished their cigarettes.luckily you smoked outside the hospital.complications of passive smoking include among infants:(1)SIDS(2)Bronchial Asthma(3)Bronchitis and Bronchiolitis(4)Behavioural and learning difficulties(5)Pneumonia(6)MeningitisAs you smoked only for one minute and in an open environment, I do not think anything will happen to the kid.My suggestion to you is not to smoke. If you are not a regular smoker quit smoking with your will power. Or if you are an addict please go to a Psychiatrist and get nicotine patches or talk about behaviour therapy to help you.Thank you
Comments / Follow Ups
Patient: Hi, thanks for your response but I have read all this information about the risks of passive smoking and what is missing from the literature is a look at risks from a small amount of smoke. This answer is quite generic and doesn’t look at the intricacies of my point. I would also like to know who has written this response and their field of expertise.
As I already mentioned there is no clear cut evidence of what can happen to an infant if he is exposed to smoke for less than a minute.
But, if he is a predisposed /vulnerable individual he can develop some complications which cannot be predicted.