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Smoking Around Kids

At the end of the "trampoline" conversation last week, one reader's question got lost. And it's one that resonates not just in terms of the issue mentioned, smoking, but also of other child-raising disputes:

I am curious if anyone has had issues with family members or with friends' parents when it comes to your kids being around smoke -- secondhand or thirdhand, and if so, how it played out.
Did you take a stand, and was your decision respected, especially if it involved you not visiting someone's home? Have more seasoned parents softened their positions on the issue as their kids got older? Just curious, as I am involved in a family dispute right now over this, where my decision to keep my baby away from thirdhand smoke is being ridiculed -- Holmes1

Regular commenter Whacky Weasel brought smoking and kids back up in Friday's beer drinking blog:

I've seen some comments where people say it's OK to model "responsible" drinking in front of their kids. It seems ridiculous to me though, other than through complete abstinence, to model "responsible" smoking.
Which prompts me to ask out of curiosity, does anybody know if it's unlawful to light up at an outdoor school sporting event such as a football or softball game?
I've been to many games and have sometimes noticed that people were smoking. I would think it would be against the law, but I've never heard of anybody getting arrested for it.

As we've discussed before, I've got a zero tolerance policy around smoking. Not only am I super sensitive to the smell from years of living with a mom who smoked, but my 5-year-old is asthmatic. Still, even with my strong biases, it doesn't stop us from an annual visit to a family household where one person smokes outside and in the garage. I just do my best to keep us all away from those areas. Before my mother-in-law quit her smoking habit, we wouldn't visit her house; rather, we'd stay in a nearby hotel and get together in other places.

In truth, though, our family seems the most understanding of all. Out in the "real" world, at sporting events or the park, smokers don't seem to notice this crazy mama doing all she can to avoid the stench and steer the kids clear of it. Still, a tiny smell of cigarettes is all it takes for some kids to realize it's a habit they never want to start. So, maybe one tiny sniff in a lifetime isn't all bad. As for Holmes1's question about whether I've softened my stance as the kids have gotten older, my answer is not in 7 1/2 years. And I don't see that changing.

How do you handle this smoking gun, both with family and out and about?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  July 20, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Previous: Parents Drink Beer; Coach Fired | Next: When Trusting Yourself Is a Crime

Comments


We don't have any close family members that smoke anymore but plenty of cousins, Aunts and Uncles that do - on both sides of the family. We see them at reunions, weddings and funerals and it makes for interesting conversations. The smell itself is a HUGE turnoff to kids, and pointing out that Aunt X died because she smoked her whole life (55/70 years) is another deterant. My brother quit smoking about 2 years ago and we have talked about how hard it was for him and how great he feels now.

I am fairly sensitive about smokers when the kids are around, but I don't make a scene. We don't go back to restaurants that have a smoking bar adjacent to the eating area and we talk about why, but it is usually the kids that say "Eww, it stinks here" so it's not hard.

I guess my only caution would be not to go overboard and not be overly dramatic - I cite the forbidden fruit theory. My parents were ardent non-smokers - lectures and warnings, remarks about how smokers were second class citizens, on and on it went. Unfortunately despite the dire "warnings" both of my brothers and I smoked for a time, in HS and College and beyond, one brother till her was 45. I am not sure their approach worked, or I am not sure they explained themselves all that well.

Regardless, kids will be offered cigarettes (and alcohol) and what children need to learn is that it is OK to say no. They need to learn to break free of the social pressures and be their own person. Teaching them the health risks and keeping the lines of communication open seem to be key, but don't fool yourselves that keeping them away from all smokers all the time is going to work on it's own.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 20, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

What is "thirdhand" smoke?

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 20, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I think people make to big a deal over adult drinking around kids. some of my fondest memories are of impromptu parties my parent had. at some point my dads brothers and their wife and kids ended up at our house. the adults played cards in the gargage (bid whist) and there was A LOT of table slapping, beer/liquor drinking and cigarette smokin til 1 am. My mom (not a drinker) would make coffee and arrange for sleepovers, good food, family and good times. the kids about 10 of us played outside got to stay up late and watch our parents have a good time. We never saw someone get obnoxious, or stupid. What did I learn? You can drink responsibly and have a good time without being dumb.

Now on the other hand I did have a fascination with the cigarettes. I always thougt it was 'cool' how the adults (men) looked like happy dragons with smoke coming out of their nose.

Posted by: nall92 | July 20, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, my mom dealt with that in the late 60s-early 70s, when everyone smoked, everywhere. But for her, the question was an easy one: at the time, I had asthma triggered by cigarette smoke (among other things). So she told the relatives I couldn't visit them if they smoked (and told my future stepfather that she couldn't marry him unless he quit). I imagine she got some flak for it -- there's always at least one who thinks you're making a big deal out of nothing. But when you know that giving in = possible imminent death, it's easy to draw the line. And I suspect most of those comments went away the first time they saw me turn blue and stop breathing.

I think it's a lot harder when the risk isn't as immediate. Ironically, my own past has shielded me from having to deal with this issue as a mom, because all of the family who used to smoke quit when I was little (or, umm, died). And since MD has such strong anti-smoking laws, pretty much every place we go is nonsmoking. Given all of that, I don't worry too much if we go to a sports bar or something and the kids are around secondhand smoke for a little bit. I'm pretty much still the canary in the coal mine, can't take even residual smoke smell for very long, so I figure the likelihood of long-term damage to the kids in that small amount of time is minimal.

Posted by: laura33 | July 20, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Well I have a brother-in-law and mother-in-law who smoke, and we go stay with them every once in a while. I hate it. Stuff we bring into the house come out smelling like smoke and I always wash everything when we get home. Now for the most part they smoke outside and the house is better but when they used to smoke inside the house, it was absolutely horrible and I wanted to spend my time out of the house because of it. A couple of times we went up to stay with them I actually kept our stuff in the car and only got them when needed.

My other brother-in-law is of the same mind and their family hates it as well, but we put up with it for the sake of visiting the in-laws (not a choice to stay in a near-by motel, either, not when there's enough room to stay in the house).

The kids are well aware of the smoke and don't like the way it smells either, both during and the lingering effects. Hopefully that will be enough to keep them away from smoking one day. I guess enough exposure and talking to the kids about the dangers of smoking (they hear their grandmother and other grandfather's breathing problems and we've explained that as a consequence of smoking throughout the years) will sink into their mind.

It helps, too, that MoCo is relatively smoke-free when we go out to eat, shop, etc. I hated it as a little girl when we would encounter that, and am glad we are not subject to that today.

Posted by: deweydevil1 | July 20, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I second the request to extrapolate on what you mean by third-hand smoke. Do you refuse to allow your kids to play with kids that have parents that smoke? That is the closest I can come to it and if that is the restriction, it is extreme in my book, and I grew up with two parents who smoked 2-3 packs/day, we had yellow walls in our house from the smoke, and I had friends comment that they could smell the clothes on my clothes. If I had a friend who refused to play with me because of this, I would have spiraled into depression. Come to think if it some friends probably did, and I'm glad I didn't know this was the reason.

Posted by: mb129 | July 20, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

What about at public parks? I'm in DC but we frequent a park in MD - Watkins Park. I've noticed the last few times we've gone that parents sit in the middle of the playground and smoke. I've just removed the kids to another area 1) b/c the people in question had spikes for bracelets and 2) I'm 7 mos pregnant. But I noticed there was a park official nearby who said nothing so I thought maybe there's no rule. Regardless, it was just irritating to see smoke billow over the kids on swings(and I don't care if people smoke; I just think it should be done as far away from others, especially children, as possible b/c you never know who has allergies/asthma, etc).

Posted by: 1moreandthen | July 20, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm just not that strict. I wouldn't stay in a smoking house, and I'd probably ask my kids friends to play at our house if their parents smoked more than occasionally, but I don't scream and shout. We do visit relatives that smoke (local) and we do see smoking out and about. I just try to stay upwind.

We try to tell the kids that yes, it's bad for people, and that people aren't always rational, and that some people do things that are dangerous. We also tell them that some habits are very very hard to stop, some substances are addictive and you have to be very careful what you start. And that we love grandma anyhow. She lights up on our driveway and we all try to be considerate of each other.

But none of us are asthmatic, which puts a different complexion on the problem. That's similar to asking if you'd take your highly allergic child to stay with a relative with pets. Uh, no, I like to visit people and places, not ERs.

Posted by: inBoston | July 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm guessing by thirdhand smoke they mean the smoke that remains in a person's clothing and hair, so even though they are not actively smoking the smell remains.

Posted by: kawilson69 | July 20, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I'll add this link into the entry, but for everyone wondering about thirdhand smoke, here's a writeup about it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/03/health/research/03smoke.html?_r=2

Posted by: StaceyGarfinkle | July 20, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

This seems a little over-extreme to me. As kids, most of us were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, and most of us will never have any negative health effects to show for it. Refusing to stay with the mother-in-law once or twice a year for a few days because she smokes sounds could create a lot of friction.

I've never smoked a cigarette in my life, and I fully support laws limiting smoking in the workplace and high-density residences, but I also support being reasonable. Kids are tough. A few whiffs of smoke in a park aren't going to kill them.

Posted by: kent_eng | July 20, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather be in a car with a smoker than a drunkard. Last time I checked smoking was legal. Driving under the influence is not. But then everybody drinks so it's socially acceptable. Keep whipping on the smokers so you can feel better about your attitudes toward smokers. If a drunk driver kills a child on the road, we all go into the boo hoo routine about "how could this happen?" yet we turn right around an order a glass of wine.

Once I read an article about a smoker killing a child on the highway I will rethink my views on smoking. Until then the real killer is alcohol. Happy Partying Parents!!

Posted by: PGirl | July 20, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

What's the rule with airline pilots? "No smoking for 24 hours before the flight, and no drinking within 100 feet of the plane"? Something like that.

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 20, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"You can drink responsibly and have a good time without being dumb."
I agree, but you should also realize that Most alcoholics drink responsibly too. Thought I'd throw that out there.

On the other hand, if it were possible to smoke "responsibly", it certainly wouldn't be done in front of children. Despite the undesirable health hazards and the unpleasant odor of the smoke itself, there's the alluring aspect of smoke and fire that kids are naturally attracted to. Fire breathing dragons are cool, but attracting kids to a smoking habit isn't.

Having said that, I'm not sure that anybody can totally prevent their child from being exposed to 2nd hand smoke at all times, and definately not 3rd hand smoke. Case inpoint, the smoking teachers at my kid's elementary school, now relegated to hide behind the dumpster to smoke, still go back to teach their students after their break. It's no secret to the students which teachers smoke. They can smell it, and I doubt that any parent can manipulate the system to the point where they can select their child's teacher based on a smoking criteria. Not yet anyway.

Another thought, my neighbor likes to burn wood in his fireplace during the winter. It makes my eyes sting, but I'm not going to ask him to stop doing it. I think it's impossible to go through life and avoid every single environmental hazard that's out there. If somebody is that sensitive to it that it spurs allergic reactions, rather than have their work/social/home life controled by the presence of burnt airborn particles, one would be best served by purchasingthe the oxygen tank & mask.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 20, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

we have a 6 month old. although i quit just before getting pregnant (good timing!), my husband still smokes. people have asked me on numerous occasions why i don't make him quit. those who have quit smoking can attest that nothing can MAKE you quit, even the pleas of those you love and the birth of a child. Quitting is a decision you have to make yourself. We never smoked in the house, and my husband never smokes in his car either, but his self-imposed rules include washing his hands, brushing his teeth and changing his clothes before he holds the baby at night. I know it is difficult for him especially since our son is more aware now and usually goes crazy with joy and wants to be held right away as soon as he sees Daddy coming through the door after work and can't understand why Daddy has to wash hands, brush teeth and change clothes before he gets his hugs and kisses. My husband is a terrific father and I hope this is the impetus he needs to quit.

Posted by: simonecoyle | July 20, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

fr kent_eng:

>This seems a little over-extreme to me. As kids, most of us were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, and most of us will never have any negative health effects to show for it. Refusing to stay with the mother-in-law once or twice a year for a few days because she smokes sounds could create a lot of friction....

WRONG. I was exposed to a LOT of 2nd hand smoke and it gave me asthma. Refusing to stay with the MIL "once or twice a year for a few days" is perfectly fine. MIL needs to quit puffing away; there are a LOT of programs to aid quitting smoking.

Posted by: Alex511 | July 20, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"Once I read an article about a smoker killing a child on the highway I will rethink my views on smoking. Until then the real killer is alcohol. Happy Partying Parents!!"

Posted by: PGirl | July 20, 2009 11:07 AM
_____________

PGirl, Wow!!! there is so much wrong with your logic that I don't know where to start.

Posted by: pipe1 | July 20, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Third-hand smoke? That is ridiculous. I have a hard time believing that whatever micro amount of toxins left behind from smoking are going to be worse than car exhaust, or chlorine bleach. Just say you don't like the smell! Has anyone had an asthma attack from third-hand smoke? I sincerely doubt it. Stop the health nazis before they strike again!

Posted by: blahblah6b | July 20, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree that cigarettes are fascinating to kids, which is why there is such a stink over any movie that shows a star puffing it up.

When we were kids/teens it was very glamorous (or so we thought) to smoke dramtically. I remember throughout k-12 teachers being able to smoke in their lounge and there was a smoking court in our HS - so students could take a smoke break between classes. This was right in the middle of FFX County in the mid 80's- my how times have changed!

The worst habit I ever witnessed as a child was my grandfather and his dipping tobacco he called snuff, it was GROSS! It was horrible to watch him spit into the bottom of a milk jug, I can't even smell it now without thinking about him spitting all day long.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | July 20, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

i'm actually allergic to cigarette smoke. i sneeze, wheeze, and in rare occasions will get hives if i'm exposed for too long. needless to say, i don't want my son around it just in case he will have the same reaction. so yes we are very vigilant when it comes to cigarette smoke, and stay as far away as we can.

Posted by: annwhite1 | July 20, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Our house, our rules - if you come to visit us, you step outside to smoke. If my brother visits, he goes outside.

If we visit the house of a smoker, we live by their rules. We visit my brother even though he smokes and his house smells; we tolerate it for the period of the visit.

In open spaces I tend not to worry; if the smoker is far away from people I let it go. (In Howard County you can't smoke in parks, but I just tend to not notice a parent stepping way away from the softball field for a quick drag. I can't call what I can't see, you know. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 20, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

PGirl, I have fond memories from high school that involve one of the "beautiful people" jocks parking his car sideways on a school fence because he dropped a lit cigarette while driving. (I was a nerd, so seeing one of the alpha males make an @ss of himself was cool.) So yeah, ciggies can cause car accidents; this kid was lucky it wasn't more serious.

Posted by: northgs | July 20, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Beware geeks with interminable conference calls and good Internet access. :-)

This third-hand smoke stuff is a crock. I did some checking in Scientific American (to what else would a geek subscribe? :-)
Here's the link for those who care.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-third-hand-smoke#comments

Here's the key comment:

"It's only recently been given a name and studied," says Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. "The level of toxicity in cigarette smoke is just astronomical when compared to other environmental toxins [such as particles found in automobile exhaust]," he adds, but notes that he is not aware of any studies directly linking third-hand smoke to disease [as opposed to second-hand smoke, which has been associated with disease]."

I repeat, for emphasis: "HE IS NOT AWARE oF ANY STUDIES DIRECTLY LINKING THIRD-HAND SMOKE TO DISEASE."

The study referenced in the NYT article Stacy linked is a survey about whether people have ever heard of "third hand smoke" and how they react to the term. It is NOT a study as to what the actual impact of third hand smoke is, if there is any.

Further, it's so full of "scare tactics" it's almost funny.

"Among the substances in third-hand smoke are hydrogen cyanide, used in chemical weapons; butane, which is used in lighter fluid; toluene, found in paint thinners; arsenic; lead; carbon monoxide; and even polonium-210, the highly radioactive carcinogen that was used to murder former Russian spy Alexander V. Litvinenko in 2006."

ooh - "used in chemical weapons" "used to murder..."

Even in the SA article, the same Dr. Winickoff says "Studies in rats suggest that tobacco toxin exposure is the leading cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). We think it is [caused by] respiratory suppression."

Ooh - tobacco is the leading cause of SIDS? What do the "Back to Sleep campaign" folks think of that one?

No to myself: take everything Dr. Winickoff says with an enormous grain of salt.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 20, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by pipe1: PGirl, Wow!!! there is so much wrong with your logic that I don't know where to start.

Please, enlighten me with your logic. I am teachable. Show me where second-hand smoke causes more deaths than alcohol.


Posted by: PGirl | July 20, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Nice call, AB. The other thing that caught me in that article: when we think of smoking, we think of the stuff that we smell -- the compounds that volatilize and irritate the nose and eyes, etc. But the article seems to be talking about the risks from what is left behind (see example of crawling baby). In other words, it's not the inhaling, it's the touching.

Before I get too worried about third-hand smoke, I'd be interested to know which compounds get left behind (I mean, CO is going to float away with the dispersing smoke), in what amounts, and what risks are really associated with those chemicals in those amounts. From this article, I don't see any reason to think there's a health risk associated with sitting at a park next to someone who smells of smoke.

Posted by: laura33 | July 20, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

""It's only recently been given a name and studied," says Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco."

Does anybody else here smell the fumes of an ultra-liberal?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 20, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Please, enlighten me with your logic. I am teachable. Show me where second-hand smoke causes more deaths than alcohol.


Posted by: PGirl | July 20, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

It's a fools errand to compare the two -second hand smoke is bad for you and others, alcohol abuse is bad for you and others - both kill people in large numbers. Determining which is a bigger killer seems juvenile.

If you must compare them - American Lung Association says sss kills 50,000 adult non-smokers a year. MADD says there were 16,000 drunk driving deaths in 2006. Way too many of both.

I'm all for people having the right to kill themselves (if I don't have to pay for it), but just don't take any of us down with you.

Posted by: 06902 | July 20, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Does anybody else here smell the fumes of an ultra-liberal?"

Whacky, I don't think it's an "ultra-liberal" per se. I think it's more likely a "scientist" who's found his cause celebre.

"Ooh, here's a topic that will make me rich and famous. I'll get grants galore; probably my own lab with boatloads of grad students to do research and write articles on which I can list myself as a co-author; maybe I'll even have discoveries, laws and corollaries named for me. Keynote speaker at conferences; testify before Congress; maybe be interviewed on '60 Minutes.' No more fighting for lab space or study carrels; no more being snickered at by the best grad students."

That sort of behavior exists across the political spectrum. It's the sort of behavior that leads to surveys testing out cool names like "third hand smoke" before there's even been any valid scientific research done. It's the sort of behavior that leads to unremitting hyperbole like Dr. Winickoff's use of "murder", "chemical weapons" and "leading cause of SIDS".

(Not that Dr. Glantz ISN'T an ultra-liberal; he may well be for all I know. Just that his and Dr. Winickoff's hyperbole is more likely attributable to desire for scientific glory than to political viewpoint.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | July 20, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

We don't have any huge health problems with smoke, I do think that would make a difference.

Most of our friends that smoke are very nice about it. They'll go outside and do their best to be discrete. If I like them well enough to have them over then I'm not going go get all uptight about a little smoke.

I don't care for children who "preach" to adults who smoke about how they shouldn't. Most adults who smoke know all the risks, to have some obnoxious kid bringing this up at a social occasion annoys me. If your family has health issues or are virulently anti-smoke I think it's thoughtful to turn your kids down in social situations. I call that civil.

Posted by: RedBird27 | July 20, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

EPA estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 3000 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmokers.

To get all uppity about somebody outside smoking one cigarette within 20 feet of your kid can't compare to somebody who gets drunk and injures or kills a family member. That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: PGirl | July 20, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

" don't care for children who "preach" to adults who smoke about how they shouldn't."

Hardly seems like you would just limit this to the subject of smoking. I would find anyone (of any age) preaching to me about any behavior, annoying. Maybe that's why this blog is so annoying.

Posted by: 06902 | July 20, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"That's all I'm saying."

The comparison is dumb. To get all uppity about somebody smacking your kid in the head once can't compare to somebody who gets drunk and injures or kills a family member either.

Posted by: 06902 | July 20, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I think some kids and their parents should get smacked in the head ... more often. That's all I'm going to say.

Posted by: PGirl | July 20, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I feel really sorry for older parents whose grown children won't bring the grandkids for a visit because of smoking. After everything they did to raise their children - now the smoking is the most important issue. It's sad.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | July 20, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"I don't care for children who "preach" to adults who smoke about how they shouldn't."

Another good reason not to smoke in front of brats. They are such a buzz kill.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | July 20, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

On topic, I wouldn't permit someone to smoke in my home. I think that the primary danger of a smoking parent is that the kid is likely to pick up smoking. I'm one of three with a father who used to smoke (until CPOD finally stopped him). My younger brother smokes, my older brother couldn't stand smoking so he picked up chewing (uggh). I'm the one of the three of us to escape.

@pgirl - One could reasonably toss in deaths and injuries relating to fires started by cigarettes. The average annual estimates of deaths for 2000 - 2004 from smoking included 736 deaths from smoking-attributable residential fires. Smoking during pregnancy resulted in an estimated 776 infant deaths annually during 2000-2004. So, add in 1500 deaths per year of non-smokers and consider yourself taught a little.

@Weasal - Also beware someone with good internet access and some interminable depositions of silver films.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 20, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, @weasel.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 20, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Several comments:

1) It should be noted that "Dr." Glantz's doctorate is in mechanical engineering. He did some postdoctoral work in cardiovascular mechanics or somesuch and has basically made his career ever since as a professional Antismoker.

2) The EPA estimate of 3,000 deaths is based upon 40 years or so of continuous 8 to 16 hours per day of intense exposure. Comparing that to the risk of visiting a smoking relative or catching the scent of smoke in a park is like comparing sticking your hand out the door to grab the morning paper with spending 40 years baking yourself daily on a Miami beach. Remember: the "no safe level" statement holds just as true in exposing your kids to sunlight, even while wearing sunscreen, as in exposing them to smoke.

3) For a full examination of thirdhand smoke read the article and my entry at Global Health Law at:

http://globalhealthlaw.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/third-hand-smoke/#comment-52

You'll note that to meet the conditions used for comparison by the NY Times you'd have to let your baby lick the floor for several hours a day for close to three *TRILLION* years... over 200 cycles of the life of the universe.

4) Regarding childhood smoke exposure and allergic asthma, the asthma has gone up about 300% in the last 30 years while smoke exposure has gone DOWN about 300%. Think about what that indicates.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Posted by: MichaelJMcFadden | July 21, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

It's only a public health issue IF second hand tobacco smoke, and 3rd hand, is a health risk to other people. What the news media refuses to tell people is that many scientists and reseachers, including even doctors and politicians, say that Second Hand ( & 3rd hand) Tobacco Smoke is NOT a Statistically Significant Health Risk to other people, including kids in cars or elsewhere. http://www.tomneuville.com/archives/119 Steve Hartwell www.tobaccosmokersofcanada.ca

Posted by: stevehartwell | July 21, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Back to the original issue... my MIL smokes, but she only smokes outside. I have no problem visiting her with our children. If she smoked inside, I would have a problem with it.
I know my children do not like to be held by her since she smells like an ashtray. But that is her choice, and I'm not going to force them to be physically close to them.
"I feel really sorry for older parents whose grown children won't bring the grandkids for a visit because of smoking. After everything they did to raise their children - now the smoking is the most important issue. It's sad."
Thre's usually more to this than smoking. If there is a decent relationship, the visitors will stay at a hotel and have short stays. Plus it's a two way road - the grandparents can visit the grandkids where they live, just not smoke. It's sad that they won't visit because they have to smoke away from the kids.

Posted by: aimeeconnelly | July 21, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Aimee wrote, " the grandparents can visit the grandkids where they live, just not smoke. It's sad that they won't visit because they have to smoke away from the kids."

I'd say it's even sadder that the grandparents' children throw them out into the snow for usually no good reason. If a child has an asthmatic condition that is triggered by tobacco smoke (a trigger only for a fairly small segment of asthmatics in times past) the the situation would be different of course.

- MJM

Posted by: MichaelJMcFadden | July 22, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

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