The ills of smoking aren’t lost on anybody who has been keeping up to date with current trends. With smoking being heavily linked to lung cancer, heart disease and a mirage of other problems, it is impossible to ignore the effect that smoking will have on the life of the smoker. In the most recent studies, it was actually revealed that full time smokers may be shortening their lifespan by half. What has been worrying many more people are the possible effects that second hand smoke might have on the people in the life of the smoker with some studies suggesting that they may have it worse.

Effect of second hand smoke on babies

In a recent study, it came to light that second hand smoke could increase the chance of a child developing respiratory diseases like asthma in childhood if the child is exposed to this smoke as a baby. This is of great concern considering the high number of smoking mothers who are out there. In the study used smooth muscles cells that had been acquired from the air passages of dead fetuses with ages ranging between 18 and 20 weeks old. These were the best samples to simulate the cells of the infant children.

These harvested cells were subsequently exposed to cigarette smoke at different levels and the results monitored. The cells displayed a reaction that was similar to those which were observed from inflammation in asthma. What was most worrying was that even the lower levels of exposure still brought about these changes to the cells. When the level was increased the result was the death of the cells. If these effects were to take place in a real baby then the baby’s air passages would become narrow and make it harder for it to breathe.

The case for premature babies

The case of course doesn’t get better in cases where the babies are premature. The lungs of premature babies are not yet fully developed and thus the babies are usually given a greater level of additional oxygen in neonatal ICUs. This increases the risk of lung diseases later in the child’s life. According to the author of the study, Dr. Vogel from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,  when these babies are exposed to second hand smoke they may get breathing problems and this may put them right back in the ICU and thus the danger to them is higher.

The results of this study will only compound an already growing list of how smoking may be damaging the lives of children. With smoking already being suspected of playing major roles in birth defects, this news should sound the warning signals to all pregnant mothers out there who are hoping that their child will have a normal life. These findings are still being considered preliminary and will be present at the meeting of ASA, American society of Anesthesiologists. Even so it should not be taken lightly because knowing all too well the dangers of smoking to adults, it wouldn’t be right to think the danger is less to fragile babies.