The harmful effects of tobacco are not limited to the person who smokes. Using tobacco during pregnancy increases the risk of problems such as low birth weight, still births, spontaneous abortion, premature birth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Low-birth-weight babies are at risk for developmental delays and learning problems at school, and serious health problems throughout their lives.

However, even if you cannot stop smoking, breastfeeding is still the best choice for your baby. Try not to smoke an hour or two before nursing. And never expose your baby to second-hand smoke.

Second-hand Smoke

  • Second-hand smoke (also known as “environmental tobacco smoke” or ETS) is a toxic mixture of over 4,000 chemical compounds, 50 of which are associated with or known to cause cancer.
  • Second-hand smoke has harmful effects on everyone but especially babies and children. They are more vulnerable than adults because their lungs and immune systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate. Be aware, too, that babies and children cannot usually move away from people who are smoking around them.
  • Tobacco smoke can trigger colds, asthma, bronchitis, allergies, pneumonia, and breathing problems in babies and children. Babies exposed to second-hand smoke can develop painful ear infections and some even die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • If you or others in your household cannot stop smoking, restrict your smoking to the outdoors. Opening a window, smoking in another room, or smoking in the house when children are not present will not eliminate the risks.
  • Some provinces have banned smoking in a car or truck where children are present.

To Learn More…

Health Canada:
Or call 1 800 O-Canada (1 800 622-6232)
TTY/TDD: 1 800 465-7735