Oklahoma County health officials say tobacco use could increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) for your baby.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome involves a sudden, unexplained, unexpected death of a baby during the first year of life, and it's the leading cause of death in otherwise healthy infants.
According to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, chemicals in secondhand smoke appear to affect the brain in ways that can interfere with an infant's breathing. Infants who die from SIDS have higher concentrations of nicotine in their lungs and higher levels of cotinine (a biological marker for secondhand smoke exposure) than infants who die from other causes.
Many of the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke can cross the placenta and concentrate in the body of a developing baby, according to health officials. One recent study found that infants born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy showed poor motor skills development and were less able to regulate their physiological, sensory and attention responses than infants that were not exposed to tobacco.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, not smoking during pregnancy and not smoking in the home or around a baby help substantially in reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death.
"Obviously, all parents want healthy babies. That's why it's so heartbreaking to see expectant mothers who smoke or adults who use tobacco around infants and young children," said Paola Klein, Oklahoma County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition coordinator.
Klein said a big part of the problem is that tobacco companies intentionally target their marketing to youth and young adults.
If you want to quit using tobacco products and need help, call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). For Spanish call 1-800-793-1552.