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PEDIATRICIANS yesterday accused smokers of child abuse as they expose infants and children to second-hand smoke (SHS).

The Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association, Inc. (PAPA) said SHS is a strong factor in developing cancer without even touching a cigarette, thus violating a child’s right to good health.

The Department of Health has said that there are 17.3 million adult smokers. 

“This is a form of child abuse because it infringes on the rights of the child to good health,” Rhiza Francisco-Valdes, the group’s president, said.

She said SHS also makes children more prone to asthma, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.

Second-hand smoke comes from two sources: the smoke that the user exhales and from the tip of the lighted cigarette.

“When adults smoke in front of children, they inhale SHS,” Valdes noted.

Valdes also said it is equally dangerous for children to be exposed to third-hand smoke (THS).

THS is defined as tobacco particulates left on clothes, tabletop, floors, car seats and even on a child’s hair.

“Curious children playing on floors, pressing their faces against walls and other surfaces and putting objects into their mouths are at an increased risk of coming into contact with these third hand toxins,” said Valdes.

What is worst, she said, SHS poses a danger to the unborn child.

“Exposure to SHS while pregnant increases the chance that a woman will have a spontaneous abortion, still-born birth, low birth-weight baby, and other pregnancy and delivery problems,” she said.

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