Secondhand Smoke and Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

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Secondhand Smoke and Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

Secondhand smoke is what you breathe in when you are around a smoker. It is what a smoker breathes out. It is also what comes from the burning end of a cigarette, e-cigarette, cigar or pipe.  It has more than 4,000 chemicals and is very dangerous. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is very dangerous for children with CF.

Why secondhand smoke is so bad for kids with CF

  • Secondhand smoke can make it hard for children to grow by decreasing the energy their bodies need to grow
  • It can reduce their lung function (PFTs-Pulmonary Function Tests) and make breathing harder.
  • It can make them have more lung and sinus bacterial infections.
  • Children who live with secondhand smoke need more visits to the emergency department and admissions to the hospital due to breathing problems.

What is in secondhand smoke

  • Secondhand smoke contains at least 69 chemicals that cause cancer. These are called carcinogens (car SIN oh jenz).
  • Airborne irritants (EAR uh tents) that make the nose and lungs sore and raw.
  • Carbon monoxide (car bun  mon OX ide) – a poison gas – is in secondhand smoke.
  • Oxidants (OX i dents) that hurt the heart and blood vessels.

How secondhand smoke affects a child

Smoke has many poisons and irritants. It hurts everyone, but it hurts babies and young children more. This is because they breathe faster than adults, so they breathe in even more poisons that damage the air sacs of the lungs. Children cannot leave a room when the air is smoky.  They depend on us to make sure they have clean air to breathe.

What you can do

  • Stop smoking.  It is never too late to quit smoking.
  • Ask your doctor for help.
  • Call the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-Quitnow, or 1-800-784-8669).
  • Text to Quit Smoking. Text the word “QUIT” (7848) to “IQUIT” (47848) to get special quit smoking advice by text message.
  • Do not let anyone smoke in your home. Smoke stays in the carpets, furniture, curtains, and clothing.  It can keep hurting your child.  This is called thirdhand smoke.
  • If people do smoke, ask them to do it outside.
  • Never smoke in the car with your baby or child.
  • Do not go to homes, restaurants, or other places where people smoke.
  • If other people care for your baby, make sure they do not smoke.

HH-IV-167 Secondhand Smoke and Cystic Fibrosis (PDF) 11/16 Copyright 2016, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

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