Pregnant women who smoke, or who are exposed to second-hand smoke, have a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or gestational hypertension.
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), also known as second-hand and third-hand smoke, can also cause health problems for children after birth. The harmful products in tobacco smoke can also be passed to the infant in breast milk. When children breathe in ETS, they are passively smoking. Passive smoking can cause ear, throat and/or lung infections, asthma, allergies, coughing, and wheezing, and may lead to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The effects of ETS will continue to harm the health of children and their mothers until smoking is completely removed from their environment.
Third-hand smoke, the chemicals from smoke that remain even after the smoke is gone, is also dangerous. Third-hand smoke can get trapped in hair, skin, fabric, carpet, furniture, dust, and all indoor surfaces over time. These chemicals pollute the air and can adversely affect people’s health. Infants are especially susceptible to third-hand smoke because they breathe more quickly and spend more time on the floor where there is a build-up of chemicals.
It is important for both the woman’s health and the health of her baby to have a smoke-free environment. Most women know the general health effects of smoking on their health. Healthcare providers, friends, family members, and others who support pregnant women are encouraged to explore what pregnant women know and understand about how tobacco smoke affects their pregnancy, unborn baby, and children. Every woman has her own reasons for smoking and quitting smoking.