How Long After Smoking Can You Hold A Baby (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 to 4 Hours

Smoking involves the burning of tobacco or other substances, rolled in paper, to produce smoke that is inhaled by the smoker. This smoke contains active substances which go to the lungs and eventually get absorbed into the bloodstream. Hence, the effects of smoking are so fatal that instant gratification can easily be negated based on the various studies conducted.

Often considered a recreational activity, smoking is quite harmful to the smoker and the people around them. Passive smoking or second-hand smoking is inhaling the smoke exhaled by the primary smoker. Second-hand smoke is known to have similar detrimental effects as suffered by the primary smoker.

Secondary smoke poses a great danger to the young ones and leads to several complications as well. SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the sudden unexplained death of an infant in less than a year. Early age asthma, lung infections, learning difficulties, developmental delays, etc. are some of the risks that children face due to secondary smoke.

How Long After Smoking Can You Hold A Baby?

Levels of PM2.5 particles Time
Half of the initial quantity55 mins
Acceptable quantity as per WHO guidelines160 mins 

Around eighty per cent of the second-hand smoke is invisible to human eyes. It can be dangerous for the non-smoking occupants of the household. About 5000 chemicals releases in the smoke produced by a cigarette. PM 2.5 particles are a fine particulate substance that is present in the smoke, are a major concern of human health and can remain suspended in the air for a very long time.

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So, it is advisable to avoid smoking inside a household with babies, who can become exposed to this secondary smoke and the harmful chemicals associated. It takes fifty-five minutes to reach fifty per cent of the initial PM 2.5 levels and 160 minutes to reach the levels considered safe for humans as per the WHO.

Paediatricians strictly advise that smokers must hold a baby only after 2 to 4 hours. They also suggest changing their clothes or wearing a layer on their existing clothes before holding a baby. This is because some of the suspended particles may stick to the cloth which can get into contact with the baby.

Third-hand smoke accounts for what is left behind after someone has smoked. This smoke lands and stays on every surface it comes in contact which means babies exposure to the harmful toxins released with the smoke.

Why Does It Take That Long To Hold A Baby After Smoking?

Smoke is dangerous for babies and children, and their exposure to second-hand and third-hand smoke through smokers around them can have detrimental effects.

Second hand and third-hand smoke tend to remain in the surroundings, and the toxic chemicals released with the smoke stick to the nearby surfaces. These chemicals even stick to the smokers’ clothes.

Babies generally spend their time on the ground or in the laps of their guardians. These places might have toxic chemicals released with smoke. The babies and children are most likely to swallow or breathe in these toxins from the smokers’ surroundings and belongings.

Babies and children tend to have smaller airways than grown-ups, and their airway is still in developing stages. Their immunity is also not as developed as an adult’s. So, a smoker must avoid coming in contact with the baby for a period of two to four hours. They must also take necessary precautions like washing their hands, changing clothes and rinsing their mouths.

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Conclusion

Smoking is injurious to health not only for the smoker but also for the people in their surroundings. Babies especially are delicate and in developing stages of their respiratory and immune systems. It is advisable by the paediatricians to avoid coming in contact with a baby for two to four hours after a smoke. Even after that proper precautions must be taken to minimise the impact of smoke on the baby.

References 

  1. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-10-772
  2. https://jech.bmj.com/content/69/3/249.short
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24904023/
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