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When comes to smoking in America, I think things have certainly changed for the better. Fewer people smoke now that in the 1960's and it's been a steady decline every year. Laws have been put into place to end the exposure of other people to secondhand smoke. Indoor smoking bans in the workplace, restaurants and other facilities were established years ago.
There are warnings on cigarette packages that leave nothing to the imagination. They say smoke can and does kill people. Yet people continue to smoke. But I'm not getting up on this "Holier Than Thou" soapbox to preach. If people want to smoke, that's their choice. Who am I to say? I smoked for 25 years until I went "cold turkey" on June 20, 1990 and finally quit.
But here's what I don't get. Why would smokers, especially parents of children continue to smoke in the home and car and continue to exposure their own children to secondhand smoke? And here's what makes it especially bad. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is out with a report that says the rate of asthmatic children who regularly breathe in secondhand smoke hasn't changed since 1999.
Children with asthma who breathe in secondhand smoke have more severe symptoms and have more frequent outbreaks than other kids with asthma.
According to the CDC, nearly 58% of children with asthma were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke from 1999 to 2002 and 54% from 2007 to 2010 which isn't a significant change. Doctor Kenneth Quinto of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics says the message isn't getting through to parents who smoke. He says more needs to be done to ensure that parents of children with asthma are note exposing them to secondhand smoke.
I can remember as a kid, both of my parents smoked. They smoked in the home and every time I went somewhere in the car with my father, he smoked in the car. I did not and do not have asthma, but I'll never forget the horrible smell in the car. It sometimes got to the point where I was nearly sick to my stomach. But hey, as a kid what are you going to say? I guess I'm lucky I never got asthma because Doctor Quinto says not only is secondhand smoke bad for kids with asthma, but it can lead to developing asthma.
Experts say for parents who smoke the best thing to do to protect their children is to quit smoking and if they don't do that, they should ensure that homes, cars and other places where their children are, should be smoke free.