"Think of the children," has been an argument in many a morality campaign.
While some dangers were imaginary and kids provided a convenient prop for concern trolls, smoking has been seen as one area containing legitimate reasons for health concerns. Particularly the potential negative impact on the health of children.
Now researchers claim that there is one very strong and valid reason to keep cigarette smoke away from children.
Seana Gall, a researcher in cardiovascular epidemiology warns, "Exposure to passive smoke in childhood causes direct and irreversible damage to the structure of the arteries".
Gall led a University of Tasmania-based study which determined that passive smoke inhalation by children increases their risk for heart attack and stroke as they grow older. The passive smoke exposure actually "ages" the child's arteries over time and thickens the artery walls.
For these reasons Gall strongly recommends that parents or persons considering becoming parents quit smoking.
All children should be protected from second-hand smoke | BBC News - Passive smoking 'damages children's arteries' http://t.co/iM1cJvWG6j
— Jonathan Wells (@RBCCG_Chair) March 5, 2014
The World Health Organization has long deemed second hand smoke exposure to be a real danger. The organization has identified 250 harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, with 50 of those chemicals known to cause cancer.
Upwards of 6 million people die each year as a result of smoking-related illness. As many as 600,000 smoking-related deaths are said to come from continuous second-hand smoke exposure.
A third of these deaths are thought to be children who lived in households where they were regularly exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke.
The WHO emphasizes that the only way to prevent second-hand smoke related illness and death is to remove smoking from environments where others will be impacted.
Thanks to many laws across the United States, passive or second-hand smoke exposure has been eliminated from school grounds and it is illegal to smoke in a car with a child.
Despite these bold steps in recent years, legislation can only do so much.
In order to protect children from the negative consequences of smoking, it is important that the smoking adults in their life not expose them to cigarette smoke in any way, shape, or form.
The toughest, but most successful manner of accomplishing this is ultimately to quit smoking.
Image via Wikimedia Commons