Rifle mom decides secondhand smoke isn’t worth the risk
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Editor’s note: In recognition of National Air Quality Awareness week, Garfield, Eagle, Mesa, and Pitkin County, the city of Aspen, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are working together to raise awareness about indoor and outdoor air quality issues, encouraging communities to “share the air.”
Shanna Huser of Rifle makes her husband take off his coat, wash his hands, and sometimes even brush his teeth, all just to hold their 6-week-old son.
For 14 years Shanna smoked nearly two packs of cigarettes a day. But once she became pregnant, she made the difficult decision to quit.
Her husband is still a smoker, but he does his part to keep their son safe, only smoking outside their home.
It took Shanna four months to finally quit smoking.
“I don’t know how new moms have time to smoke,” she said. “I’m busy enough just taking care of my son. I don’t think I could find time for both. I just knew that I had to stop, that it would be the best thing I could do for him.”
Secondhand smoke is particularly dangerous for children because they breathe in more air than adults for their size and weight.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, and at least 60 are known to cause cancer.
Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to develop ear infections, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia and more severe asthma. Exposure can also lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Huser says that she never allows tobacco smoke in her home, and makes her husband step outside each and every time.
“Opening a door or window to improve ventilation won’t remove the chemicals from the air. Not even expensive air filtration systems can clear it,” said Missy Ivy, tobacco educator for Garfield County Public Health.
According to the EPA, chemicals emitted from secondhand smoke can stay in furniture, clothes, and carpet for weeks or even years. Meanwhile, air circulates throughout a home. So even if smoking is done only in a few rooms, secondhand smoke still permeates the entire home.
For more information on how to improve the air quality in your own home or to find resources on how to stop smoking, call Garfield County Public Health at 625-5200, visit garfield-county.com or call the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW / 1-800-784-8669.
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