In an age where most parents know better than to smoke cigarettes around their children, why are they still burning wood?
These days, BC parents are well aware of the harms of food additives, the dangers of certain toys, and of course, the health risks around cigarettes - yet wood smoke doesn’t seem to be on their radar. While this is largely due to a lack of awareness, it is important that they become educated on both the issue and solutions. The fact is sustained wood smoke exposure can pose health risks to their children.
Kids are especially vulnerable because of their developing lungs and fragile immune system. When the tiny wood smoke particles enter a child’s body, they are unable to clear them out by coughing. As a result, harmful chemicals (the same as those in cigarettes) remain in the lungs, which can increase the risk of asthma and cancer, as well as potentially causing heart disease as the particles travel through the bloodstream.
Furthermore, the damage to the child’s lungs limits their ability to fight infections, amplifying the harm being done to their body. Children with a history of wood smoke exposure are at a higher risk of developing chronic lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema) in adulthood, symptoms of which will not make themselves known until well after the exposure itself.
Not only is lung disease debilitating and potentially fatal, but it can dramatically affects a child’s day-to-day life as well. Games or sports can become more difficult, and kids may feel left out of activities that come easily for their peers. Children who are exposed to wood smoke are also prone to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits. Overall, wood smoke and its consequences can drastically decrease a child’s quality of life.
In order to remedy these issues, we urge parents get informed. Learn more about the effects of wood smoke here.