Second Hand Smoke: The Danger to Infants and Children

Second Hand Smoke: The Danger to Infants and Children

Grand Canyon University

NRS-427VN Concepts in Community and Public Health

Second hand smoke also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) has become an increasingly concerning issue for communities everywhere. While second hand smoke can be detrimental to the health of adults it can be just as dangerous if not more to infants and children. The number one instance of second hand smoke exposure comes from the parents of the child inside of their home. According to American Academy of Otolaryngology “26 percent of adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes, and 50 to 67 percent of children under five live in homes with at least one adult smoker”. Cultural barriers and socioeconomics of the families of infants and children who smoke plays a role in the lack of education regarding the effects of second hand smoke. The best way to reduce the exposure to infants and children is to educate the community about the dangers associated with this topic. This applies especially to families with infants or children where either one or both parent’s smoke tobacco. The spread of knowledge through word of mouth can be the quickest way to provide the community with the knowledge and references they need to encourage them to stop smoking and reduce the exposure of second hand smoke to their children.

The epidemiological statistics of this topic make it an issue of importance to be educated to communities everywhere. Children who are exposed to second hand smoke are at risk for health problems such as “severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)” (C.D.C, 2016). “The EPA estimates that between 150,000 and 300,000 annual cases of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children up to 18 months of age are attributable to secondhand smoke exposure. Of these cases, between 7,500 and 15,000 result in hospitalization” (Rights, 2009). Unfortunately, more than 1,000 infant deaths annually are related to smoking during pregnancy (C.D.C, 2016). The Healthy people 2020 has an objective for tobacco cessation making it a topic of importance to be educated to individuals within every community. In the following paragraphs is a description of a community education topic presented to a group of six individuals regarding the dangers of second hand smoke exposure to infants and children.

A book club of women aged 24-40 years old were educated on the effects of second hand smoke on infants and children. Among the participant’s present occupations ranged from two Registered nurse, an Accountant, a Teacher, and two individuals that worked in sales. Each one of the individual’s present had an infant or school aged child at home and where current tobacco smokers or had a spouse at home who smoked. The education was provided to the members via power point presentation on a large screen T.V and each where handed a copy of the power point for their own keeping. The goal of the community members being educated that day was that each member would learn about the harmful effects of second hand smoke on infants and children and use the resources provided to quit smoking. Also, the goal was that everyone would take the knowledge they gained and continue to educate family and other community members about the topic, encouraging them to also quit smoking.

The presentation began by the instructor asking the members present each take a number from a bowl, as the reason would be described later in the presentation. The instructor then asked the members present to raise their hand if they had infants or children at home, the answer was unanimous that everyone present had an infant or child at varying ages at home. The next question the instructor asked was to have everyone raise their hand if they smoked tobacco or if someone else in their home smoked tobacco. Once again it was a unanimous raising of hands that everyone present was either tobacco smokers or someone in their household smoked tobacco. This allowed the instructor to gauge the participant’s readiness to learn and participate. Knowing the individual’s occupational backgrounds allowed the instructor to understand the educational level of each individual present. The presentation was then announced that the topic we would be covering that day would be Second hand smoke: The danger to infants and children.

The presentation began with the definition of second hand smoke leading up to the statistics associated with the health effects of second hand smoke on infants and children. The instructors hope was that displaying the statistics early in the beginning of the power point would cause a “wow” factor and encourage any individuals who had not been engaged to become interested and begin to follow along. Next was a description of the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. A picture was provided so the individuals present could have a visual representation of where the chemicals in tobacco smoke can also be found. While many individuals may know that smoking tobacco is not good for them, they don’t necessarily know exactly what chemicals are inside of tobacco smoke that can be found in everyday things around their house. Such as cadmium that can be found in batteries and ammonia that can be found in toilet cleaner. This was meant to encourage the members present to ask themselves “If tobacco smoke contains all these chemicals and is this harmful to me, what is it doing to my child’s health?”. With this question in their minds it allowed the group to slide perfectly into the next slide labeled “What it does to your Childs’ health” that discussed the immediate and long term effects of second hand smoke on children and infants. The instructor anticipated spending the most time on this slide as it was the main impact of the power point presentation. The effects of second hand smoke on infants and children’s health were discussed in detail. After learning the health detriments to their children from second hand smoke, the instructors wanted the members present to be asking themselves “what can I do to help my child?”. The next two slides discussed what the parents could do to reduce their Childs risk for exposure to second hand smoke, the main emphases being smoking cessation. At this point in the presentation the instructor is hoping that the individuals present are contemplating the idea of smoking cessation and are now curious as to what resources are available to them to help them quit. Next was the slide featuring available resources for smoking cessation that could be easily accessed by the community. This was also an important slide that the instructor wanted the members present to remember and be able to recall when they left. Four community resources were given ranging from ones that offered free classes to one that offered 24hour text, phone, and chat room support groups for smoking cessation. It was important that the members now receive the resources at this point in the presentation because they would likely be curious about what can help them quit smoking to keep their infants and children safe from the dangers of second hand smoke. The very end of the presentation compiled of three slides with true/false questions regarding the information that had been educated to them and matching of tobacco cessation resources to their corresponding definition. Lastly six questions were laid out on a slide and each member would answer the corresponding question number with the number they had drew from the bowl at the beginning of the presentation. The recall and retrieve as well as the questions that provided teach back learning techniques were incorporated to determine the effectiveness and remembrance of the information educated to the individuals present.

Overall, the teaching experience and community presentation was well received by everyone that was present. All members were engaged in the information that was presented to them and participated in the check your knowledge questions and matching at the end of the power point. The instructor’s main concern was that for some of the individuals present such as the Registered nurses, the information would be redundant and not engage or encourage them to quit smoking. The instructor tried to overcome this barrier by providing statistics or “proof” that the effects of second hand smoke can be harmful to infants and children. As nurses, they would have more medical knowledge on the effects of tobacco to themselves and the environment, but the hope was that showing them how it could affect their children would engage them in the conversation and encourage them to quit smoking. However, this was not an issue as one of the nurses present even verbalized that she had not known about third hand smoke and found it interesting and scary that the chemicals from the smoke could be attached to objects such as her Childs toys that could later be ingested. Another barrier that the instructor thought could be an issue was that certain members within the group would be unwilling and adamant about their refusal to quit smoking. The instructor planned to remove this barrier by educating them on the health dangers of second hand smoke and that their willingness to keep their child healthy would encourage them to quit smoking after learning this new information. This did not seem to be a concern as many of the member’s present were actively discussing that they had been thinking about quitting for a while but where unsure of the best way to go about it, and did not wish to quit “cold turkey”. The raffle prize of Barnes and Noble gift cards were also helpful in encouraging the members present to participate in the presentation. To determine the effectiveness of the community presentation the instructor spoke with Kari Waters (The president of the book club) three days after the presentation to determine the group members progress towards their smoking cessation goals. Kari informed the instructor that at least half of the group members had actively looked up more information on the smoking cessation resources provided to them and had appointments to see their primary care physician to discuss the best options for them to quit smoking. One individual had also encouraged her mother and husband to quit smoking with her as they could use each other for moral support. The rest of the group were still discussing plans to quit smoking soon. Overall the information was easily accepted by group members and the goal of the community presentation was accomplished.

The strengths of the instructor’s presentation were the layout and the progression of slides that allowed the members following to build up a thought process that ultimately led them to the community teaching goal; smoking cessation. Another strength was considering each of the educational levels of everyone present and adjusting the information so that it was both easy to read but also pertained information that not everyone would know, such as the topic of third hand smoke. The only issue with the community presentation was that it lasted for almost an hour instead of the 30 minutes it was planned for. Although it was not the presentation itself that ran this long but the questions and curiosity regarding the effects of tobacco smoke on the members themselves, the instructor did not consider this a weakness. However, the weakness was the instructors’ inability to plan for the community’s interest and questions regarding the health effects of tobacco smoke to the parents themselves. The next time the instructor should bring pamphlet information as well on the effects of tobacco smoke on the smoker themselves to hand out should anyone wish to have more knowledge. The community teaching experience was both effective and informative to the individuals being taught. The instructor’s goals for the community education presentation were met and exceeded making this a positive event.