There is strong scientific evidence linking smoking to more than two dozen diseases and conditions. The harmful effects of smoking include: cancer (lung, mouth/throat/voice box, pancreas, kidney/bladder); coronary heart disease (aortic aneurysms, heart attacks, circulatory problems, stroke); high blood pressure; gum disease; tooth decay; respiratory diseases (COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema); osteoporosis; thyroid disease and fertility problems. Unless smokers quit, half of them will die from their smoking, most of them before their 70th birthday.
Many people do not believe that second-hand smoke can cause first-hand illness. Smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products can harm children. For instance, if a woman smokes while she is pregnant, her baby is more likely to be born preterm (before nine months) and weigh less than other babies. If children are exposed to cigarette smoke, they are more likely to have asthma, allergies, ear infections and eczema (a skin condition). They are also at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Often, children exposed to cigarette smoke are more likely to be hospitalized for breathing problems (developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society Psychosocial Paediatrics Committee, published in Paediatrics & Child Health, February, 2001).
For more information on second-hand smoke and its affect on children, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada – Tobacco website.