Effects of Secondhand Smoke

Firsthand smoke comes from the toxins of cigarettes being inhaled directly. Secondhand smoke is breathed indirectly. Thirdhand smoke is inhaled from clothing, draperies, furniture, carpets and other things in the environment that absorb smoke. “There are some theories that thirdhand smoke can be just as dangerous or more dangerous than secondhand smoke because it interacts with chemicals we use to clean our clothes,” says Dr. Sunil P. Kamath, CHOC pulmonary and respiratory specialist.


“If kids are around smokers and exposed to second- or thirdhand smoke, they have increased incidents of asthma, ear infections and sinus infections. The other big thing is there is a direct correlation between smoke exposure and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome),” says Dr. Kamath. “The smoke and toxins are inhaled into the child’s lungs and respiratory tract and have a lot of negative effects on the developing lung and on the immune system” he says.


“The best thing for smokers would be to quit smoking for their own health benefit and for their children and the people around them,” advises Dr. Kamath. “At a minimum, if people are going to smoke, they should smoke outside, away from the house and away from any ventilation system. We always recommend that smokers wear a smoking jacket or robe and when they are done, they leave that article of clothing outside and wash their hands and face before interacting with anyone.”

Meet Dr. Kamath - Pulmonary and Respiratory Specialist

Dr. Sunil Kamath is a specialist in the area of pulmonary medicine, the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of lung diseases. Dr. Kamath is the medical director of respiratory, pulmonary and blood gas services at CHOC.

He served his pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and his internship in pathology at the St. Louis University School of Medicine, as well as a pediatric pulmonology fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Dr. Kamath’s philosophy of care: “I like working with patients and their families to improve their health and quality of life.”

St. Louis University School of Medicine

Pediatric Pulmonology

Dr. Sunil Kamath

Tips on How to Talk to Your Teen to Quit Smoking

Confronting your teen about smoking or any other sensitive issue can be challenging and frustrating for parents. Check out the following tips on what parents can do if they find out their teen smokes and how to help them quit.

Concerned mom talking with her teenaged daughter

Use of Cigarette-Like Devices Growing Among Teens

Teen boys and girl sitting on the ground with backpacks

Cigarette-like devices that could pass for a pen or marker are becoming more and more popular with teens. These devices are sold in tempting flavors such as apple, bubble gum or chocolate, and sometimes claim to be nicotine-free, which can make them attractive to kids. The risks involved, however, are far less appealing and something every parent and teen should become educated on. We spoke to Deputy Matson of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Community Programs Division/Drug Use is Life Abuse, who shared his expertise on this growing new trend.

Knowledge is the best medicine. Learn more about your child's health in these features from the experts at CHOC.

Having Asthma as an Athlete
Kids with asthma may experience these symptoms particularly during or after exercise. However, children with asthma who are well managed usually have very little difficulty with exercise.

Kids and Asthma
Asthma can be hard to diagnose in a young child and the symptoms can be mistaken for another illness. Children with asthma often have other conditions.

Teens and Drugs
Prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse by teens is the fastest-growing drug problem in the U.S. One of the most commonly abused drugs is oxycodone.

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