Cigarettes are incredibly effective devices for spreading harmful chemicals, including nicotine and carbon monoxide, all over your house. If you light up in one room, the smoke will be detectable in the entire house within minutes, and that includes the baby's room. The chemicals and particles that make secondhand smoke so dangerous will immediately stick to just about everything in the house, including carpets, walls, furniture, and even stainless steel. Over the next few weeks and months, these contaminants will be slowly released back into the air — the same air that your baby breathes.
My colleagues and I recently searched for traces of secondhand smoke in homes where smokers tried to "protect" infants by never lighting up in the same room as the baby. The levels of nicotine and other chemicals throughout the house were about five to seven times higher than what we saw in houses of nonsmokers. More important, urine tests showed that the babies in these families had been exposed to eight times as much secondhand smoke.
In fact, we found elevated levels of toxins in homes where smokers only lit up outside. Smokers spread contaminants wherever they go — they seep out of their clothes, skin, hair, and breath. For this reason, smokers should wear clean clothes (that they haven't worn while smoking) around the baby, wash their hands and face often (especially after smoking), and not let the baby suck on their fingers.
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