Pregnant & Parents

Kids & Smoke Don't Mix

Tobacco smoke, vape aerosol, and marijuana smoke all contain chemicals that are harmful to pregnant women and young children. There is no risk-free level of secondhand exposure to these products.

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Tobacco Smoke

Over half of California’s kids are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke, which contains about 70 cancer-causing chemicals.

If you smoke around infants and young children, the risks go up for:

  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) infants are three times more likely to die of SIDS if born into a house with smokers.
  • Illness – secondhand smoke can cause ear infections, asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
  • Learning problems

If you smoke when pregnant, the risks go up for:

  • Preterm labor – can cause baby to be born early and too small
  • Low birth weight – baby is born less than 5 lbs 8 oz and can have trouble with eating, gaining weight, and fighting off illness
  • Less oxygen – slows growth and harms the heart, lungs, and brain
  • Placenta issues – baby can’t get enough food to grow
  • Birth defects – can include a cleft lip or palate
  • Miscarriage – pregnancy loss before 20 weeks
  • Stillbirth – pregnancy loss after 20 weeks

If you quit smoking, the risks go down for:

  • Early labor
  • Low birth weight baby
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Birth defects
  • SIDS
  • Learning issues and lung problems later in life

Staying Smoke-Free with a New Baby

A new baby brings many changes. These changes can cause stress and make you want to smoke again.

Ask yourself these things to help you stay quit for good:

How do I feel about not smoking?


We hope you feel proud! Every cigarette you did not smoke while pregnant has helped your baby. And every cigarette you do not smoke from now on helps you and
your family.

How have I been able to give up cigarettes?


You may think that your baby is the only reason you quit. Think again! The baby helped, but you are the one who did the work.

Do cigarettes still look good to me?


They might look good, even long after you’ve quit. Remind yourself why you quit and how you have been able to stay quit. Keep doing those things!

How can secondhand smoke affect my baby?


It can cause lung problems, ear infections, and asthma. It can also put babies at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and cause them to have trouble learning in school.

What about my needs?


As a parent, it is easy to get busy with the needs of the baby and do little for yourself. This can make you feel upset, which can cause you to smoke again. To make sure your needs are met, plan ahead and ask for support!

Vapor or Aerosol

Vaping is on the rise, especially among youth. The U.S. Surgeon General states that while vapes generally emit fewer toxic chemicals than cigarettes, the aerosol that is emitted from these devices is not just water vapor. Most is a mixture of nicotine, tiny particles of heavy metals, and chemicals. Vape aerosol, like cigarette smoke, contains ultrafine particles, which settle deeply into the lungs when inhaled by people using it or near it.2

Vapes contain e-liquid that comes in thousands of flavors, many of which appeal to kids, like bubble gum and grape. These sweet flavors may tempt kids to drink the e-liquid or put vapes in their mouth.

tossing vapes

How You Can Help Young People Quit Vaping

Parents, guardians and trusted adults can have a big impact on young people, so it’s a great idea for you to talk with them about vaping.

Learn More

Quitting is the best step for yourself & your family.

Kick It California can develop a plan that’s right for you. Our coaching can double your chances of quitting for good. And you may qualify for a FREE, two-week kit of nicotine patches sent to your home. Enroll now or call us to see if you qualify.

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With the legalization of marijuana in 2016, more Californians are being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke, which contains many of the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals as secondhand cigarette smoke. Nonsmokers exposed to marijuana secondhand smoke in a room without ventilation tested positive for THC for up to three hours following exposure, making this particularly troubling when considering the potential impact to children exposed to marijuana smoke.3

Visit your County’s Access Line for help to quit marijuana.

Major funding provided by the California Department of Public Health & First 5 California.Copyright © 2023. The Regents of the University of California. All Rights Reserved.
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Major funding provided by the California Department of Public Health & First 5 California.
Copyright © 2023. The Regents of the University of California. All Rights Reserved.