Nursing, Smoking, and Kids

  1. I have a neighbor that has two small children and they are serious chain smokers. I've always thought that smoking around children is a form of child abuse. But I've never wanted to say anything to them because despite my personal feelings, smoking around kids is discouraged but not illegal (yet). At least not where I live. So all I do is walk by and do nothing about it. Now, I am a nursing student. And as a future nurse, I feel obligated to do something. But what can I possibly do considering it is not illegal? If I talk to them, they could retaliate in some way. I don't really know them so I don't have a clue how they would react. I am just fearful for the kids (ages 2 and 4). Should I just mind my own business? I'm not trying to be a nosey neighbor. I just don't want to see the kids develop asthma or cancer or something.
    •  
  2. 92 Comments

  3. by   emtb2rn
    I agree with you that they shouldn't be smoking around the kids,let alone smoking at all. Given your description of the relationship you have with them, I'd suggest minding your own business.

    You can't save everyone. That's a fact of medicine.
  4. by   ChristineN
    I agree, if they are bothering you with their smoke you could say something, but if they don't do it around you, then I would mind my own business.
  5. by   lsyorke
    Being a health care professional doesn't mean one has the right to start interfering with others lifestyle choices....even if it's something you feel strongly about.
  6. by   scribblerpnp
    Trust me, if these parents have ever taken the child to their pediatrician, they have heard no-smoking-around-the-kids talk lots of times. You can say something if you want, but be prepared for the relationship to change between you and them. In my opinion, unless they ask for for my opinion, I'd keep my mouth shut.

    I am a PNP and live in an area where I would say a good 60-75% of my pts live with parents who smoke. I can talk about the disadvantages and danger until I'm blue in the face. But like many things, unless the parents are willing to change the behavior, the only change I'm going to make is my face going from pink to blue.

    I am NOT a smoker and I DO NOT condone smoking around kids EVER. But lots of kids grow up around 2nd hand smoke and lead perfectly happy, healthy lives and never pick up the habit themselves. Admittedly, it does and can do a lot of damage to children and adults. I continue to fight the war, but some times there are bigger fish to fry. I would take exposure to second hand smoke for a child over allowing their child to be morbidly obese ANY day.

    If the only poor parenting choice of these people is the smoking, maybe they aren't such horrible parents after all.


    And in your future career of nursing, there will be plenty of times where you will feel the need to put in your two cents, and sometimes you shouldn't. Consider this scenario practice.

    I'm not being mean or hateful, just being honest.
  7. by   nurseshepherd
    It is hard to watch but like one of the previous posters said, these folks have almost certainly been warned. The kids will suffer and these same parents will scratch their heads wondering why they are sick all the time but never get it. We had a 2 PPD woman deliver a couple years ago and her baby died at age 3 or 4 months, ruled SIDS. She is pregnant again and is now listening to all the warnings about smoking during pregnancy and is down to 1/2 PPD, a huge improvement. I've never had to deal with an addiction, so I truly don't know what smokers go through trying to quit but it must be a nightmare.
  8. by   JettaDP
    Quote from nurseshepherd
    It is hard to watch but like one of the previous posters said, these folks have almost certainly been warned. The kids will suffer and these same parents will scratch their heads wondering why they are sick all the time but never get it. We had a 2 PPD woman deliver a couple years ago and her baby died at age 3 or 4 months, ruled SIDS. She is pregnant again and is now listening to all the warnings about smoking during pregnancy and is down to 1/2 PPD, a huge improvement. I've never had to deal with an addiction, so I truly don't know what smokers go through trying to quit but it must be a nightmare.
    I'm not a nurse yet, so I don't know what 2 PPD or 1/2 PPD is.......

    Well, everyone, thanks for your advice. Everyone has basically said the same thing so I think I will take everyones advice and not say anything. I don't want to burn bridges and saying anything will probably not help at all. They probably have heard it many times before. And even if they haven't, my voice probably won't help anyways. It's disappointing. I just wish there was something I could do. But since there isn't, I will just keep hoping that maybe someday they will quit for the sake of their children.
  9. by   lpnstudentin2010
    Quote from spring05
    I'm not a nurse yet, so I don't know what 2 PPD or 1/2 PPD is.......

    Well, everyone, thanks for your advice. Everyone has basically said the same thing so I think I will take everyones advice and not say anything. I don't want to burn bridges and saying anything will probably not help at all. They probably have heard it many times before. And even if they haven't, my voice probably won't help anyways. It's disappointing. I just wish there was something I could do. But since there isn't, I will just keep hoping that maybe someday they will quit for the sake of their children.

    I am not a nurse either however i am assuming pack per day
  10. by   ChristineN
    Quote from JustaPatient
    I am not a nurse either however i am assuming pack per day
    PPD=Pack Per Day
  11. by   beachbum3
    I smoke, am a nurse, and have kids. We (SO and I) smoke outside, and if the kids are in the car keep the windows all the way down and cigarettes outside the car, if we even smoke with them in the car. Most of the time we don't. At times we smoked inside the house, but that was only when the kids were upstairs in bed, and we were in the basement.

    Do you know they are not taking the same precautions? I mean, I'll smoke when they are around (ie outside while they are playing) but I make sure to tell them to not come near me when I'm smoking.


    My kids don't have health problems- no asthma, no frequent sicknesses etc. The only time they were frequently sick was when they started daycare. (Which is to be expected)


    I just think its a huge jump to call smokers who have kids child abusers.

    I don't think you should say anything. Its really not your place.
  12. by   emtb2rn
    Quote from spring05
    ... I will just keep hoping that maybe someday they will quit for the sake of their children.
    You don't quit for your family or friends, you quit for yourself. Won't happen any other way IMHO.
  13. by   Sean04
    You feel obligated to do something because you are a "future nurse"? Really?

    You need to mind your own business.
  14. by   JettaDP
    Quote from beachbum3
    I smoke, am a nurse, and have kids. We (SO and I) smoke outside, and if the kids are in the car keep the windows all the way down and cigarettes outside the car, if we even smoke with them in the car. Most of the time we don't. At times we smoked inside the house, but that was only when the kids were upstairs in bed, and we were in the basement.

    Do you know they are not taking the same precautions? I mean, I'll smoke when they are around (ie outside while they are playing) but I make sure to tell them to not come near me when I'm smoking.


    My kids don't have health problems- no asthma, no frequent sicknesses etc. The only time they were frequently sick was when they started daycare. (Which is to be expected)


    I just think its a huge jump to call smokers who have kids child abusers.

    I don't think you should say anything. Its really not your place.
    Actually yes, I do know they're not taking the same precautions. I live in an apartment building. I am on the second floor and they're on the first. During the day they almost always have their front door open and they have a gate up to keep the kids from escaping. When I walk down the stairs from my apartment I have a direct view into their living room. And EVERYDAY I see them smoking with their kids there. Sometimes with the kids in their arms while they smoke.

    I realize that not every child gets sick because of second hand smoke. But when a parent smokes around a child, they have no idea as to how it will affect the child. Maybe nothing happen, or maybe the child will get sick enough to die. You just don't know until it happens.

    Lastly, I did not say that parents who smoke and have children are child abusers. What I said was that parents who smoke AROUND their children are. You don't have to agree with me. And I'm not trying to attack you. But you are entitled to your opinion as am I. Parents who knowing put their children in possible harms way, are abusing.

    I'm glad you take precautions to keep it away from your kids. Fact is, there are many people who don't. Such as my neighbors. And in my opinion, it is abuse.

close