Phone 0800 HEALTH

Smoke in Dust Risk to Children

Smoke in Dust Risk to Children

Thursday, April 27th 2006

Contamination of house surfaces by smokers can remain for months

Babies whose parents smoke inside - even if they are in a different room - are exposed to second-hand smoke through contaminated house dust and surfaces.

An American study, published in the British Medical Journal's quarterly Tobacco Control journal, shows that when someone smokes indoors, second-hand smoke particles are absorbed into walls, furniture, clothes and other surfaces. The smoke can remain in the home for months.

Wellington Hospital paediatrician Allan Farrell said that was particularly dangerous for children as they spent a lot of time indoors and often played on the floor, in close proximity to dust and objects contaminated by second-hand smoke.

"This relatively low dosage can accumulate over the course of weeks to levels equivalent to several hours of active adult smoking," he said.

"The negative health effects of second-hand smoke don't just disappear after people finish their cigarette."

Dr Farrell said exposure to second-hand smoke could trigger asthmas attacks in children and was linked to glue ear and sudden infant death syndrome.

Forty-nine infants aged 2 to 13 months and their mothers took part in the study.

It found exposure to second-hand smoke was five to seven times higher in households where smokers tried to protect their children from smoke than in the households of non-smokers.

The director of anti-tobacco group Ash, Trish Fraser, said although people were more aware of the risks of second-hand smoke - workplaces, including restaurants and bars would go smoke-free in December - many continued to smoke at home and in their car, exposing children.

About 350 New Zealanders died as a result of second-hand smoke a year and one of the group's aims had been to stop smokers exposing non-smokers to smoke.

"This article would say even doing that is not good enough."

While the best thing was to quit smoking, those who couldn't should try to reduce the amount they smoked and smoke outside with the windows closed.

Health Sponsorship Council directory Iain Potter said there was a misconception that smoking in another room could protect children. "I'm sure parents would think twice?if they realized they were contaminating their homes."

The council was developing a second-hand smoke media campaign.

The American study suggested serious consideration should be given to methods of decontaminating homes, cars and furniture. Public policies might also be needed requiring the disclosure of the smoking status of former tenants.

Sourced from the New Zealand Herald, 12 March 2004

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for smokers:

Ecover Multi Surface Cleaner
Family C - 300 grams
Herbal Tobacco Farmers Blend
Multi Power
Smokers Toothpaste
Vanilla Herbal Cigarettes
Vitamin C with Hesperidin Complex

Related health information can be found here:

Bad Breath
Drug Withdrawal
Mullein - respiratory problems
Multivite - multivitamin/mineral
Vitamin C is essential for fighting infections, wound healing and coping with stress

Related articles can be found here:

Breathing Technique Helps Reduce Asthma Symptoms
Marijuana Smoking Affects Seminal Fluid, Sperm
Mouthwashes Create a More Kissable You
Smoking Increases Risk of Familial Pancreatic Cancer
Tobacco Giant Liable
Vitamin B100

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


Hormones No Cure-All for Older Women

Previous news item

Hormones No Cure-All for Older Women
27 Apr 2006


Home | Previous Page | Back to top

Choose a health topic

Free Health Assessment
Harmony Now Available at
Oasis Sun Care Sunblock
natural health practitioners nz
100% new zealand owned
useful resources approved by natural therapy for all