Welcome to (You’re Doing It Wrong!) Parenting

Hi ibefadaift
Readers — Just got this letter from a new mom in a town that prides itself on health, humanity, even hippie-ness…up to a point, I guess. Her name is  Esmeralda, she’s an artist, and I don’t think what she is going through is unique:

Dear Free-Range Kids: I thought of you recently when I took my baby Wesley to the doc. There were some hyperfear tactics that they were already trying to push on me. It was startling! I felt like I was being subjected the equivalent of subliminal advertising.

My husband, Hunter, is a light smoker, and does so outside of our house. At our son’s two-month appointment, the doctor spent a sizable chunk of time trying to convince us that if my honey smoked at all, even outside, the smoke would magically migrate into the house and give our baby respiratory problems. When we expressed incredulity, she gave us this look of condescension and continued to try and extract some kind of guilty admission that he was trying to quit or at least he felt really bad.

It was so irritating. I quit smoking when I got pregnant, but I’m not a militant convert. My husband doesn’t smoke in the car, or around our son at all. She tried to tell us that the smoke on his skin would give our son a debilitating disease, even though my husband washes his hands every time he comes back inside.

Last week, at the boy’s four-month appointment, we had to fill out a questionnaire about his development and our habits of care for him. The questions were just as overblown. Things like: Did we ever leave him alone in a room for even a couple minutes? (Mom does occasionally have to pee.) Did we ever lay him down for sleep in any position not on his back? (I’ll sometimes set him on his side when he naps on the couch with me.) The questions were reasonable… but only just.

It felt like this was the start of indoctrination into being obsessively vigilant. If I was not there *all the time,* or if I didn’t do everything according to the accepted doctrine, then I was somehow neglectful. The tone of the questionnaire left me feeling totally insufficient.

On that occasion we saw a different doctor who was much less disapproving than the first, and also somewhat dismissive of the questionnaire. It was quite a relief!

It may be much ado about nothing, but it really feels like almost every ad, article, questionnaire, TV crime show, doctor’s stern opinion — all of them are designed to turn me into someone who feels nothing but impending doom. That I must always be on the verge of an aneurysm or I’m not doing my job. I’ve only been a mom for 4 1/2 months and I’m already feeling the pressure!

I’ve attatched a photo because I’m not scared of using real names or of putting my baby’s face on the Internet for the millions of pedophiles who are no doubt reading my emails to steal.  — Esmeralda

The kid's all right. (That is NOT a cigarette in his hand!)

149 Responses to Welcome to (You’re Doing It Wrong!) Parenting

  1. Katrina January 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    When I brought my son to the doctor for his checkup she took one look at the scabs, cuts and bruises that covered his bare legs and commented “I can see that you have spent your summer playing outside. Good for you.” She did, however, roll her eyes whenI brought him in after he had climbed onto the shed roof, knocked the ladder over and jumped off in his bare feet.

    There are good doctors that understand that normal childhood activities are good, not unacceptably risky. You just have to find the right practice.

  2. jrmiss86 January 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    I gotta say, I am with her on everything except the smoking. Coming from a family that smoked “Outside” I gotta tell you, that it still lingers on you, your clothing, everything, no matter how much you wash your hands. I eventually ended up with Asthma and a sever allergy to any kind of smoke, most likely from that. Most smokers don’t realize just how much the smoke lingers, they just can’t smell it anymore, they get so used to the smell. And any kind of second hand smoke has been proven to harm children. It is not just to try and scare you.

  3. Orielwen January 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    Yes, that does sound like an ‘indoctrination into being obsessively vigilant’. Very disturbing.

    I would recommend though that if you nap with your baby you do so in bed, not on the couch. It’s safer for the baby, and more comfortable for you!

  4. Buzz Bishop January 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    I love what you do here, Lenore, but the smoking thing is a line that cannot be crossed. It’s something that cannot be tolerated and for those who think it’s okay to even smoke outside are dazed and confused. It gets in your clothes, on your skin, in your hair and “magically” follows you around all day.

    Don’t be an asshat, give it a shake and wake up people.

    The best part about smokers is that they’re killing themselves off before the rest of us.

    Eventually, they’ll be extinct.

    Darwin’s magic personified.

  5. Mike January 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Esmeralda, I had my Doctor friend look at your letter. The first thing he said was, “Her ‘doctor’ knows so little about medicine you should check her credentials to find out if she has a legit medical licence, because chances are the woman has no medical training past first aid”. He advised that you look for another doctor… immediately!

    To say that smoke on your child’s skin would give him a debilitating disease is like saying a baby doesn’t actually eat, but after covering his face with the food, his skin absorbs the nutrients into his body.

    It is stupid.

    Based on the questionaire, it sounds like you live in one of the states that are forcing (and paying) doctors to fill out Mental Health Evaluation forms. Each time these forms will be longer and more bizarre and convoluted.

  6. Sarah O January 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    @ jrmiss86 – Just to be clear, asthma is a disease that has a genetic origin. Yes, smoke triggers symptoms in people who ALREADY have the disease. It does NOT cause asthma.

    They are following the guidelines suggested by the National Cancer Institute for eliminating exposure of secondhand smoke. It sounds like they are acknowledging the REAL risk, and taking the suggested precautions. Why should they go beyond that?

  7. Tara January 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    I commend you for quitting smoking while pregnant! My sister didn’t and ended up with a very sick 4 lb full term baby. She figured that since her first two were born big and healthy (despite smoking throughout) that the third would as well.

    I’d also suggest switching doctors to the one you’re more comfortable with. You’re going to be seeing a lot of this person and you don’t want to walk away from every appointment frustrated!

  8. Jennifer January 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Ugh, it does seem a bit over-the-top. And don’t get me started on the “if your baby sleeps on it’s belly she will DIE” thing (as a matter of fact, my 8-week old is currently sleeping on her belly right behind me). It’s worth researching, I’ve been wanting to submit this about it for a while: http://babyfromthebeginning.blogspot.com/2010/07/belly-sleeping-and-sids.html

  9. Robin January 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    If secondhand smoke caused asthma, every person in my age group (47) would have it.

    Esmerelda, either find another practice or make sure you always see the one that was less disapproving. Older doctors seem to have a more balanced approach to things, at least in my experience.

    P.S. Cute picture!

  10. Myriam January 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    I saw something like this on UK TV. A couple with two boys with glue ear were asked by a ear, nose and throat consultant whether anyone smoked in the house. When the father said he did but always went outside the specialist said that “unfortunately that makes no difference”. He would have to wash his clothes everytime or have no contact with his children for 2 hours after each cigarette. He was apparently causing glue ear by having cigarette smoke on his clothes (or something) What? So you might as well just smoke inside then?

    Advice like this doesn’t make children safer, it simply stops people taking any advice seriously or stops them seeking it in the first place. I very quickly learned not to go to health visitors and other experts with concerns about child rearing. I remember asking a dental community advisor for help because I was having trouble getting my toddler to cooperate to have his teeth brushed. But instead of suggesting any practical tips I simply got a lecture about letting his carer give him juice. “There’s no point brushing his teeth if he’s going to have juice” were her actual words.

  11. Mike January 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Sarah, there is no and has never been any evidence that asthma is genetic.

    Asthma is acquired through such things that will cause respiratory irritation such as regularly breathing in the pollution from exhaust fumes (carbon monoxide) from cars and trucks from living in a built-up area, or from breating in mold spores from damp areas, etc.

    The amount of carbon monoxide (not CO2) in the air spewing from factory chimneys and vehicles, far outweight the fumes from one or two cigarettes.

    Cancer is damage to a cell, where the cell continues to replicate instead of just replacing the damaged cell. The majority of what fearmongers call cancer doesn’t even apply to the definition.

  12. Andy January 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    A tale of two doctors: When my brothers and I were little rugrats we went to a typical GP. First of all, he smoked. (You could smoke in hospital rooms at the time.) Every kid from that era knew the drill: Go into the examination room, shuck off all your clothes and don’t be shy no mater who walked into the room. One time I came in with a fever and a very sore throat and was told that, yep, I had the flu. The treatment? A friendly pat on the behind and the advice to “ride it out, cowboy.” He gave my mom some meds to relieve some of the pain in my throat, and a few days later I was back to terrorizing the neighborhood.

    When my daughter was small, her trip to the pediatrician was very different. Fully clothed, a full medical and personal questionnaire for both her and the attending parent, and enough meds to build a pharmacy. Neither my wife nor I were pleased: We don’t believe in a pill for every occasion. It took a while, but we found another doctor who was more interested in making sure we had a healthy child rather than supporting the pharmaceutical industry.

    Like my mama told me, you gotta shop around.

  13. April January 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    I personally dislike smoking. I have never dated a smoker, never kissed one, petitioned for smoking to be banned at restaurants. However, my grandma and my mother both smoke. They are hopelessly addicted, not just thoughtless. Yes it lingers on your clothes, etc. But for every kid who gets asthma from being around a smoker who smokes outside occassionally and washes his hands, there is another kid like me who’s mom smokes outside but REEKS of smoke, and none of her four kids have lung problems at all. (In fact, I don’t recommend it, but I am old enough that my mom didn’t really know about the dangers of smoking and smoked while pregnant with ME, and somehow I have grown up healthy.)
    One more thing— when my daughter was born, she and I had trouble figuring out the whole breast feeding thing. We went to so many lactation consultant appointments it was crazy. My mom came once, and yes, she smelled like smoke because she had just smoked before we came. I don’t like the smell, but I was NOT pleased at the condescending way the consultant spoke to my mom! She made her feel like the world’s biggest idiot! She never mentioned the smoking, just was really rude and avoided eye contact and didn’t talk to her. When we left, my mom said “I don’t think that lady like me” and was all sad. I didn’t have the heart to tell her why the lady was being such a jerk!

  14. Linda Wightman January 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Never, ever, in my life did I think I’d be defending smokers. I hate cigarette smoke and have been known to detect it from a passing car with the windows up. One of the best things that has happened during my lifetime is the growth of smoke-free places, even bowling alleys and pubs in Ireland! Those who’ve never experienced it cannot imagine the misery of being cooped up in an airplane with a bunch of smokers — even after planes were divided into “smoking” and “non-smoking” sections. (Yeah, I know. Sharing the same air and the same ventilation system. But it really was an improvement, albeit insufficient, over sitting next to a smoker.)

    Still. I have to laugh, wryly, at today’s hysteria. In the same era that we look back at so nostalgically for its free-range childhoods, nearly everyone smoked. Everywhere. Doctors and nurses smoked. Teachers smoked, though mostly not in the classroom, as I recall. Even some preachers smoked. It was inescapable, and it was Not Good.

    But it wasn’t the end of the world. Maybe my mother’s smoking from my time in utero until I was 12 stunted my growth. Then again, I have two short grandmothers, and my sister, born after my parents quit smoking, is as short as I am. Maybe I’ll have lung problems in the future. Who knows what effect the ubiquitous smoke had on us? But most of us survived, and even thrived. Maybe it was all that fresh air from being allowed to play outside so much.

    The fact that doctors are “mandatory reporters” of possible child abuse makes such a questionnaire not only invasive but dangerous to answer if smoking outside, leaving a child to use the bathroom, and putting him on his tummy are adjudged abusive. It’s one thing to inform patients … quite another to inform onthem.

  15. Marty January 19, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Buzz Bishop-

    ‘I love what you do here, Lenore, but the smoking thing is a line that cannot be crossed.’
    ‘The best part about smokers is that they’re killing themselves off before the rest of us.’


    Keep up the good work, Esmeralda- Wesley will appreciate growing up and not feeling the need to jump onto every knee-jerk bandwagon that comes along. Open mindedness and skepticism are two of the biggest benefits we’ve seen with our free range kids. Wesley will learn to think for himself.

  16. Mike January 19, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Myrium, glue ear is caused by a build-up of gunk inside the middle ear cavity. It sounds innocuous, but it’s the most likely reason that children under five will end up on the operating table, often unnecessarily.

    Medically known as otitis media with effusion, glue ear is different from acute otitis media, which is a short-term ear infection. (Antibiotics are the usual treatment).

    Both involve inflammation of the middle ear (‘otitis media’), both involve a build-up of fluid, and both are common in babies and young children. Four out of five children will get at an ear infection at some stage.

    But unlike glue ear, acute otitis media is accompanied by short-lived pain and fever. Acute otitis media can sometimes turn into glue ear, or the reverse can happen: glue ear can lead to an acute infection.

    Infections (such as a cold or flu) are thought to contribute to glue ear, but sometimes glue ear just happens for no apparent reason. Glue ear may also result from an allergy, though doctors disagree on this.

    The reason young children are most vulnerable to glue ear is because their Eustachian tubes (the passage between the middle ear and throat) are short and narrow, so can get blocked easily. Fluid secreted in the middle ear is trapped, rather than simply draining into the throat.

    Glue ear is a build-up of fluid in the middle ear.

    Although all children are susceptible to ear infection, children exposed to lots of other children in group day care or at home are at significantly more risk. Children from lower socio-economic groups are also at high risk.

    Most cases of glue ear will clear up by itself.

  17. Marty January 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    Linda Wightman,

    great point with ‘The fact that doctors are “mandatory reporters” of possible child abuse makes such a questionnaire not only invasive but dangerous to answer if smoking outside, leaving a child to use the bathroom, and putting him on his tummy are adjudged abusive. It’s one thing to inform patients … quite another to inform on them.’

    I didn’t even consider this angle- but agree with it completely.

  18. Sarah January 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    I have to say I’m with you on everything but the smoking… Like people said above, if you are a smoker (or have recently been one) you really just don’t know how much it lingers. A young baby lives with their face 2″ from your clothes. To expect the smoke to magically dissipate because someone is outside is crazy.

    You should feel comfortable enough with your doctor to be able to answer the questions truthfully, and defend your answers. For example, our son slept on his stomach, and he wasn’t having it any other way. But the doctors job is to recommend what is best for your childs health based on the most recent studies & scientific knowledge.

    You as a parent have the right to disregard the doctor, but don’t fault the doctor for doing their job.

  19. Nanci January 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    That is way beyond the Dr.s area of expertise if you ask me. I would find a new Dr. and never go back to that one again. I felt like I entered parenthood pretty prepared, I had majored in early childhood ed. in college, worked at a daycare for 2 years and been a full time nanny for 2 1/2 years to an infant, toddler and pre-schooler. By the time I had a baby I was set in my ways about what I was and was not going to do. I felt empowered and free to totally dismiss anything the Dr. said at appointments other than medical things. I went into it with the feeling that the Dr. would prescribe medicine for ear infections and the like, but when it came to parenting I was the expert. I have blown off more bad advise than I care to repeat! I feel very badly for first time mothers who are scared, afraid they will do something wrong, wanting the best for their babies, who are willing to listen to someone with a Dr. in front of their name tell them how to raise THEIR child!

  20. susanstarr January 19, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Let’s all practice the “smile and nod” technique. Now that i’m the parent of my third kiddo, I’ve perfected it when I hear hogwash. I have also learned the correct answers to invasive questions, even if they’re complete lies. Most are of no medical significance and lead to unwanted and unneeded parenting advice.

    I find it interesting that even on this free range site, posters just can’t help but give advice about sleeping positions and such. Must be in our blood to know it all. Unless someone asks for help, let’s keep it to ourselves.

  21. dmd January 19, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    I don’t think the doc should’ve been condescending. I had challenges with breastfeeding and sometimes supplemented and one of the docs (surprisingly, the oldest male doc) was condescending about it. Moms don’t need that.

    That said, I sense a pretty cavalier attitude about smoking. I see it more in the helmet category than the keep a 24/7 eye on your kid category. My mom smoked the whole time I was growing up. And I got colds and other respiratory illnesses all the time. Since living on my own, I hardly ever get them.

    It’s great that your husband is smoking outside and that is much better than smoking in the house. But any way around it , it is better to quit completely. My husband plays music and I guarantee you that cigarette smoke outside the house returns to the house. But more than that, the health detriments of smoking are rock solid and anything that would either shorten my time on this earth with my child or lead me to a miserable existence (emphysema, etc) is enough to keep me from smoking. And finally, kids often learn what they say. When your child is a teenager, it’s a lot easier to say Don’t Smoke if you don’t. That may be years away, but it’s easier to quit now than 10 years from now.

    As to the form, that’s pretty standard fare these days. I don’t think ours had any questions about leaving your child alone, but I don’t think the back sleeping thing is a bad question. Despite the hype, some folks don’t know that this is the preferred way of preventing SIDS. Will stomach sleeping guarantee your child dies – heck, no! But the fact is that back sleeping has significantly reduced infant mortality. So it’s a valid question.

    Docs ought to talk to patients about more than just the illness du jour. It should be whole health care. That’s why when they see someone is 100 lbs overweight, they ought to suggest diet and exercise. And why they ought to recommend that everyone have living will. These aren’t mandates, but these are supposedly professionals with wide access to healthcare knowledge and experience in these issues and they ought to do more than write prescriptions.

  22. Layne January 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    The questionnaire asked if you left your child alone for a few minutes? Seriously?! Do they expect you to sleep in the same room with him until he’s 18 then?

  23. Meagan January 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    I would have dismissed the smoking thing until I got pregnant… Then my mom (a smoker) visited and whenever she came back inside from smoking I ended up with a pretty horrible asthma attack and the worst nasuea of my first trimester. That said, I think babies are probably exposed to worse environmental toxins than third-hand smoke, so I seriously doubt it’s as dire as your doc is implying. Good for you for quitting while pregnant, I hope you can stay away… and I do hope your husband decides to quit- for his own sake. Anyway, you sound like you’re doing a fine job taking care of your baby, I’d suggest finding a less crazy doctor.

    @Mike What are you talking about? Asthma has been known to be genetic for ages. That doesn’t mean that everyone with an asthmatic parent gets asthma, and it doesn’t mean that you CAN’T get asthma if your parents don’t (environmental factors have a huge influence), but children whose parents have asthma are far more likely to develop asthma.

  24. jrmiss86 January 19, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Alright. Sarah O I will give you that Asthma has a genetic componant. Yes I was most likely genetically predisposed to Asthama. But it was the smoke that triggered the onsett. I could have, and most likely would have gone my whole life without this disease had I not been exposed to the smoke. And the smoke allergy is directly related to the smoke.

    To others who are saying that
    1. I was around smoke as a child and I am fine. That is great, but that doesn’t mean all children will be, in fact the science tells us that more often than not, children will be harmed in some way by second hand smoke, even smoke that lingers on clothing. That is not fear mongering that is basic scientific fact.

    2. Well in the “good old days” everybody smoked. Just because we did it in the good old days doesn’t make it right. We didn’t use seat belts or car seats in the good old days Does that mean we shouldn’t use them now. In the good old days, people fed babies cows milk if they didn’t breast feed, does that me we should do that now. My understanding of of Free range is that we are not ignoring the basic safety aspects, but rather we don’t want to live our lives based on fear. I am saying that any kind of second hand smoke, even smoke that lingers on clothing is a basic safety issue.

    And as I said before I also agree that everything else she was asked is way beyond what is reasonable, but I do believe the smoking thing is not acceptable.

  25. Lisa January 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    What a beautiful son Esmerelda. You’re not alone in your disdain for the ridiculous questions they ask at the doctors office. You’re right, they do start the fear mongering early. Early and often. Hang in there!

  26. Myriam January 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    There are only so many hours in the day, so I would rather spend them worrying about well-established safety risks rather than controversial concepts such as third-hand smoke.

  27. April January 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    to jrmiss86
    I am not dismissing good advice like not smoking. I did not smoke when pregnant. I did not visit restaurants with smoking etc. I took my vitamins. I ate lots of omega-3’s, blah blah blah.
    All I am saying is not EVERY person who is EVER around smoke will have problems (as evidenced by my own childhood example), so I did not want to ban my own mother from being around my baby.because she smokes outside.

  28. mvb January 19, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    what about horrible perfume that lingers on clothes? or body soaps? or laundry detergent? or, or, or….

    i’m not aware of any evidence that an ODOR can *cause* asthma… exacerbate pre-existing problems, sure — but lots of things can, not just the smell of cigarette smoke

  29. Elissa January 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    I don’t know whether or not asthma is genetic or environmental, but my guess would be that it has components of both. My grandmother, who lived in South Dakota during the dust bowl, has asthma but no one else in our family does. If it was purely genetic, I would expect that someone else in our family would have asthma as well. If it was purely environmental, I would expect everyone who lived during the dust bowl days to have asthma.

    That said, I agree with a lot of other people about the smoking thing. I would be hard pressed to let my baby snuggle with someone who was covered with residue of known carcinogens. Just as babies who crawl around where meth is cooked and ingest it because the residue coats everything they come in contact with – carpet, tables, furniture, people – so would the toxins of a cigarette. I would insist on a shower and a fresh change of clothes, and a tooth brushing before I let a smoker spend time in close contact with my baby.

  30. Linda Wightman January 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    Thanks, Jennifer, for the link to your post about belly sleeping. That’s another big issue, though I don’t want to start it here, just to thank you.

  31. Tryna January 19, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    In Illinois, the state Medicaid requires that we document those “invasive questionaires” about development so many times a year at well child checks or we DON’T GET PAID. The American Academy of Pediatrics also comes up with lists of “anticipatory guidance” subjects that we are supposed to address at EVERY visit and just keeps adding to it. It’s like I am supposed to be the Mommy Police; sheeesh. Actually, I recommend this site to a lot of my parents!

  32. BMS January 19, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    I chose my pediatricians based on the criteria that they be less paranoid than me. As a first time mom, I knew I was going to be nervous. My kids are adopted, so I already had to prove to 235 different authorities that I was a cross between Mother Theresa and Mary Poppins and that I could stop bullets with my teeth. So I didn’t want some pediatrician telling me that my kid was already doomed because he didn’t have all organic food before birth and he wasn’t born during a full moon in an aquatic ceremony. There was nothing I could change about his birth and first 6 months. He was born in a 3rd world country where they still use leaded gas, he slept on his stomach because that’s how they do it down there, and he was innoculated for damn near everything 12 times over because TB and other things are rampant down there. Fortunately, I found a South American doctor. When I was concerned at his low birth weight, she said (drawing herself up to her full 5 foot height) “We’re all tiny down there! Don’t worry about it!” She was awesome. When she retired, we hunted around to find another just like her – vigilant about what was important, relaxed about everything else.

  33. Erika January 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    The questionnaire sounds pretty standard to me–it may just be in the delivery. I remember being asked about smoking, pets, sleeping position, guns, fire plan, and all sorts of other stuff, when we were going for well-child visits. I also remember feeling really sensitive to any hint of judgment–so yeah, maybe the doc didn’t have the best bedside manner (and some of them can be pretty boneheaded), but remember that she DOES see kids with asthma all the time, and probably gets kind of angry when she thinks it can be prevented.

    I read recently (can’t remember where, but it was a highly reputable source) that the two best things you can do to keep your child safe & healthy are to use a car seat & booster, and not smoke. After that, the relative importance of other safety interventions (with the exception of vaccines, which I think are technically considered a medical intervention) declines radically.

    Like most things, not *every* baby who is exposed to 2nd- (or 3rd, in this case) smoke will develop asthma or other problems, but it does make the child statistically more predisposed to problems. The smoke doesn’t just linger in the skin, it gets into clothes & hair.

    Asthma & allergies have a genetic component, but they also have a lifestyle component that can be just as important. Same thing with other chronic diseases like diabetes.

    Good for your husband for not smoking around the baby & washing his hands. Just realize that your doctor may have a point. (Oh, and when my neighbor smokes outside, it does “magically migrate” into OUR house, and gives me migraines.)

  34. Skyfire January 19, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    My mom quit smoking for her pregnancy with my brother, and he was born 4 weeks premature and he was 7lbs! The rest of us, she smoked during, and we were 9-10lbs full term. She smoked in the house until we were teenagers. Only my brother has asthma (probably from being born preterm).

    My husband smoked for some years, never in front of our daughter. We went to her first checkup and one of the nurses said, “Does someone smoke in the house?” “Never in the house.” “She smells a little smoky.” All in a neutral, not accusing tone. He started washing his hands neurotically.

    He finally quit because despite his best efforts, she did see him smoking sometimes, and as a toddler he caught her with a straw between her fingers, pretending to smoke.

    It bothers me that a medical professional would lie to a patient in order to get them to do what they want. It’s unethical and insulting.

  35. Robin January 19, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    dmd – Sorry, but your anecdotal story doesn’t prove anything. I lived with a smoking parent for 19 years and never got colds. In fact, most of my siblings do not get frequent colds. So I could surmise that the smoking was protection against them…

    Elissa – Do you post a list of “known carcinogens” on your front door so that anybody who has been in contact with them will remove themselves from your property? I’m sorry, comparing the smell of smoke to meth residue? Sheesh.

  36. Elissa January 20, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    Robin – uh no…but I make sure that when I work with household toxins – bleach, ammonia, weed killer, pesticides, that I shower and change clothes immediately and leave my shoes outside. Why wouldn’t I do the same for smoking?

  37. Jen January 20, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    I never had a questionaire, but the people at the hospital where my son was born were really not happy that my husband smoked and were constantly nagging him to quit before we took our son home. He, too smokes only outside. I don’t like it and my son who is 4, says it is “stinky”, but you can’t make someone quit who isn’t committed to the idea.

  38. Anthony January 20, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    After my dad smokes, he showers and brushes his teeth and when he comes to visit me, I still can smell it on him.

    I love the post, the author, and the point she’s making, but I still think smoking is dumb.

  39. Natalie January 20, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    You know, personally I’m less concerned about the second hand smoke than napping with your baby on the couch. Cosleeping is absolutely fantastic, but couches are soft and have crevices for babies to roll into. A lot of tragedies blamed on cosleeping are actually because of unsafe practices like sleeping with babies on couches. I don’t think an older baby is much at risk, but with small babies that would definitely be a huge concern to me.

  40. Alex January 20, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    Weren’t there some studies a while back correlating asthma to a too-clean environment in the first few years of a child’s life?

  41. Hattie January 20, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    I would be way more afraid of returning to that doctor’s office and filling out the questionnaire than I would be of your child sleeping on her tummy, your hubby smoking, leaving the baby on a bed while you use the bathroom or even the napping! Imagine! You take a nap with your baby! You have some nerve! 🙂 I beg you to find a different doctor- one who sticks to medicine, not indoctrination. You are a great mom and will do everything to keep your baby healthy and happy!

  42. Mark January 20, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    I’m a father of a wonderful (free range) 9 year old son. I smoke about a half pack a day (down from 2 packs a day several years ago). Despite this, I don’t see myself as being a bad parent.

    Like Esmeralda’s husband, I don’t smoke in the house. I don’t smoke in the car when my son is present. I’m well aware of the health problems that come hand in hand with smoking, and have been trying to quit for nearly ten years (though obviously not trying hard enough).

    If there’s one thing I’m tired of, it’s all smokers being classified as bad people. I’m active and involved in my community, involved in local politics, have spent my life working in education, and also happen to smoke. It’s not something that defines me; it’s merely something that I do because I enjoy. Most of my friends (artist-types) smoke too.

    While I wish I had never started smoking some 30-odd years ago, I don’t see it as something that compromises my ability to be a loving and supportive parent. In fact, it’s led to several valuable discussions with my son about the nature of addiction and the psychology of advertising and pop culture. Several years ago, when teaching high school, a group of my students saw me smoking outside a local restaurant and promptly brought it up in class the next day. This led to a fascinating- and very honest- discussion of personal freedoms, health policy, and the like. I believe they came away from the class respecting me for my honesty about my imperfections.

    As someone probably to the left of Bernie Sanders, I don’t find myself complaining about political correctness very much. However, I would call on people to give some thought to the fact that smokers are not automatically bad parents. Smoking is an (albeit enjoyable) imperfection. We all have our imperfections, and so will our children. Perhaps we should be more forgiving of flawed personal habits and work together to fix the things that are more seriously damaging to our children.

  43. LisaS January 20, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    depending on how well the house is sealed and where hubby chooses to smoke (near a window or door or other wall penetration would not be a good choice) smoke can come back through the wall. I’ve had to deal with that in the design of a couple of restaurants in how close we locate outdoor smoking permitted tables to the inside non-smoking area.

    but still, even given the risks, the doctor’s reaction, as well as that of many commenters, seems a bit extreme. i’d be more concerned about the bad example he’s providing his child, and the fire safety issues, than the health risks.

  44. Kate January 20, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    There has actually been a fair amount of research showing that “third hand smoke” (which is the stuff that clings to your skin, hair, and clothes) is dangerous to others and to especially children. The skin is our largest organ and we can absorb an amazing amount of toxins through it. A baby’s skin is even more delicate and permeable than an adults and therefore able to absorb toxins more easily. If your husband really doesn’t want to quit please at least get him a “smoking jacket” of sorts to wear over his clothes when he goes outside. That way he doesn’t have to change every time he comes inside but your son will still be protected from contact with the residue on his clothing.

  45. Monica January 20, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    I’ve filled those questionnaires out as well. I answer with what they want to hear. I’m pretty confident in my parenting and don’t need to pay a doctor for a lecture.
    I’m no expert in second-hand smoke and its effects so I won’t begin to refer to “studies” I’ve hear about. But, this is what I do know, Esmerelda. I am the daughter of an “only outside the house” smoker. I don’t remember him or our house smelling of smoke- probably because I knew no difference, but whatever. I, nor my siblings, suffer from asthma or allergies. But, watching my 51 year old father slowly die from lung cancer is something I would never wish on anyone. His choice to smoke was his choice, no doubt. But, that choice led to lung cancer which led to his death. I miss him terribly as do my sister, brother, and his 11 grandchildren. I’m sure your husband wants to see his child grow. For this reason, choosing to smoke is very unfair to your young child.

  46. Uly January 20, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    Off-topic, but I thought you might like to see this article on recess in winter:


  47. Robin January 20, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Mark – I DON”T smoke and I’m tired of the stigma attached to smokers. As a mother of a son about to start driving, I’d much rather him be on the road with smokers than drinkers. Everybody has a vice of some sort. We’ve driven the smokers out of their own homes, enough already.

  48. Paul R. Welke January 20, 2011 at 1:32 am #

    That little boy looks healthy and happy to me.

    As for the photo caption, I think it would have been funny if that WAS a cigarette in his hand. When my son was still an infant, we snapped a few shots of him holding an unlit cigarette with a can of beer in front of him purely to get under the skin of our relatives who seem to have traded in their senses of humour for SUVs and houses in the suburbs.

    Anyone who thinks that a parent would actually allow a six month old to smoke and drink is just plain nuts.

  49. Lucy January 20, 2011 at 1:32 am #

    The French fry combination of carbs and franken fats (vegetable oils) are worse than cigarettes for your overall health.

    Showering every time you use any remotely toxic product is probably much more harmful than the many of the substances you’re trying to wash off. Fluoride is a very dangerous chemical, not to mention all the prescription drug residues in our water supplies, oh and the chlorine. Then there is the soap, the list of toxic chemicals to be avoided in most commercially available soaps if you are afraid of harmful chemicals, renders just about all of them, including baby ones, untenable.

    After all, how many people know that lavender can cause baby boys to grow “moobs”? Same for tea tree oil….

    Anyway, nobody should go to a doctor they have any questions or uncomfortable feelings about. Look at it this way – you will get the best medical care if you can freely ask questions of your doctor and converse with him about your situation. If you are at all uncomfortable, you are denying yourself the best medical care. Leave.

  50. Jenne January 20, 2011 at 1:32 am #

    Recently, the term ‘third hand smoke’ was coined in an article the journal Pediatrics and reported on in the news. As a result, after I found I had bought a 2nd hand dresser that smelled of smoke, late one night I fretted (my son was less than a year old) and started to do the research. Once I followed “third hand smoke” back to its source, I found that the report was in fact on trying to convince parents to stop smoking because of theoretical dangers (not in fact researched dangers) of ‘third hand smoke’. Scientific American points this out:

    Now, I happen to think the smell of cigarette smoke is really, really nasty (all the rest of my family smoked while I was growing up), and I don’t *like* it. However, without some kind of actual serious *study* of third-hand-only smoke exposure, there’s no evidence to support the statements.

    While I like my pediatrician’s practice (they are nicely laid back), getting the handouts from the American Academy of Pediatrics makes me crazy because I try to find out the research– or even statistics– behind them; and in the ones that make me suspicious (such as warnings to check playground equipment to make sure it’s not hazardously hot) there is only anecdotes if anything. Other ones are solidly supported by evidence. This is maddening to me.

    Unfortunately, doctors can’t read all the research out there on everything, and like everyone else, sometimes they just read the news or an abstract elsewhere–or practice guidelines– and take them as gospel.

    I’ve had to ‘talk back’ to both my obstetrician and my pediatrician each *once* about my concerns and their handling of them; while some doctors will blow you off, other ones will be responsive to you.
    If the way a doctor handles your kid– or your concerns, or your family — is problematic, please, please discuss it with them. Even if you choose to change practices, at least they have feedback that may make them less willing to impose on the next person.

  51. Anne Campbell January 20, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    We once had a pediatrician tell us that we should get the Hep B vaccine for our newborn, because we could “be sitting near someone in a restaurant who has hepatitis, and they could cough and give it to the baby.”

    Hep B is transmitted by direct exchange of blood or bodily fluids, like HIV.

    This is also the pediatrician who told us that after a baby has been nursing on one breast for ten minutes, “the milk loses all its nutrition.”


  52. Jenna January 20, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    I agree it’s hard to tease out the crazy from the prudent. But you can’t let some extreem reactions push you too far in the other direction. The second hand smoking thing seems to be true in light of recent findings. The leaving the kid “for even a couple minutes” is over the top. The best we can do is try to keep a level head amidst the extremists. And that is really hard!

  53. Nicola January 20, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    Lord have mercy, I can’t even read through all these comments for getting so irritated by people “hating” on the smoking dad.

    It’s pretty simple. If you smoke, don’t do it around the kid and DO it outside… just like he’s doing. If you want to talk about things “lingering” and “threatening” the health of your child, then put filters on your house and never go outside because I’m quite sure the air quality in many cities is just about as bad as any “lingering” scent of cigarettes that is on your skin. When I go to the gas station, I get the scent of gas on me sometimes and it gets into the car when I open the door. Oh noes!!! Holy Moses, people, where’s the sense?

    Quitting smoking isn’t something you should do just because there’s a smell on you when you’re finished. It should be done to help YOURSELF not be so unhealthy.

    Kudos to the dad for doing it outside until he decides whether or not he wants to quit. Kudos to the mom for trying to at least get out from under all the hysteria (though I feel badly that you’re seeing a touch of it here). I’d recommend finding yourself another practice. If you have a doctor that is that condescending, you have a doctor that doesn’t need your money.

    Best of luck to you, Esmeralda.

  54. Julie January 20, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    While second (or third) hand smoke is definitely bad, I would say it’s no worse for the development or exacerbation of asthma than fragrances.

    My husband has asthma and we can’t even go to church on Mother’s Day because of all the scent!! Our honeymoon at a bed and breakfast was cut short by several days by a severe asthma attack brought on my large quantities of Glade Plug-Ins throughout the place. Some friends passed on clothes to us and we had to wash them multiple times to get the scent from their laundry detergent out. I get horrid migraines from the scented stuff as well.

    So, while I truly despise cigarette smoke, I really don’t see how a doctor can condemn a parent who is TRYING to minimize smoke exposure for his infant…unless she is gonna also tell parents to stop washing their baby’s clothes in Dreft, tell grandmas and moms to quit wearing perfume, and people all over to stop cleaning the tub with Scrubbing Bubbles and mopping the floor with Pine-Sol!!

  55. Bill January 20, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Kate said: “There has actually been a fair amount of research showing that “third hand smoke” (which is the stuff that clings to your skin, hair, and clothes) is dangerous to others and to especially children.”

    Citation, please?

  56. Cindy January 20, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    Yes, smoke does linger on clothes and in hair with many toxic chemicals that we don’t know the full effect of but I’m more concerned that the Dad doesn’t want to be around and healthy for his child. Yes, we all need to take risks and I think many pediatricians are very overbearing but smoking is just bad.

  57. DJ January 20, 2011 at 2:32 am #

    Check out a book called “For Her Own Good” by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English. It covers the past couple of centuries of advice for women — so much of it laughable now.

    Makes me feel better about ignoring some of the “advice” I get from professionals — I know it’s all going to be seen as wrong in the next decade anyway.

  58. Tuppence January 20, 2011 at 2:32 am #

    Smokers=satanists business has gotten out of hand. Thanks surely in part to – what was formally considered the personal choice of an adult, is now subjected to the “think of the children!” mentality.

    Smoking inside the house where children are, supposedly a big no-no, fair enough. But I know parents who won’t even smoke at an outdoor BBQ if the kids are there. A smoker having a beer and not being able to enjoy a ciggy with? I mean, really. For me this is another example of today’s adults having no faith in children’s ability to decipher things for themselves.

  59. Marie January 20, 2011 at 2:34 am #

    I’ve always left my infants for more than a couple of minutes at a time. It’s called naptime and bedtime!

    I think dad’s doing well in trying to minimize the smoke for baby, and hopefully can do better for himself in the future.

    I’d be getting really tired of some of those questions too. Some questions about the home situation are appropriate, it helps the pediatrician give advice, but there’s a limit and better and worse ways to phrase things.

  60. Erika January 20, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    Bill: from CA: a cancer journal for clinicians:

    Thirdhand Smoke Identified as Potent, Enduring Carcinogen
    “Sleiman et al also examined nicotine and TSNA residues on hair, skin, and cotton; on dust in the trucks and in homes; and on furniture. In all examined contexts, they found elevated levels of nicotine and of 3 carcinogenic TSNAs–NNN, NNA, and NNK–ranging from nanograms per square meter to micrograms per square meter.”

  61. david January 20, 2011 at 2:53 am #


    “Sarah, there is no and has never been any evidence that asthma is genetic. ”

    Yeah, that is completely untrue. While there are still many questions about the causes of asthma, there is significant evidence that it is in part a genetic condition:


  62. Larry Harrison January 20, 2011 at 2:54 am #

    I am kind of with Robin (the post before mine, when I’m doing this). There is this “stigma” attached to them that, frankly, is a bit nuts.

    And by the way, I HATE the mess, and so does my wife. But to hear some people talk–and I don’t necessarily mean posters here–you’d think smokers are just a fingernail-thickness level above the Nazis.

    Yes, when they’re blowing smoke in your face in a restaurant, or when you can smell it all over the place in such a place–yes, that’s aggravating. Yes I have no interest in being exposed to it, and especially not my kids. But when persons go outside, take a shower, get a manicure, and practically get showered-down with bleach and ammonia and people STILL aren’t satisfied, I think it goes overboard sometimes.

    I find cellular phone users are treated that way, too. How many times do I hear people gripe about cellular phone usage almost anywhere in public, but other forms of noise are barely mentioned? I think it’s a type of witchhunt, frankly, and I don’t agree with it.

    You see it, too, when persons grips about cellular phones & driving. Well how about applying makeup, eating-drinking, refereeing kids in the backseat, staring at an attractive woman jogging, tweaking with the stereo or climate control too much, fumbling in the glove box? Again, the “stigma” thing, a form of a witchhunt rankly.

    And by the way, I have asthma. In my case, I don’t know if it’s genetic or what, I can tell you that I spent 10 years in Tucson AZ (yes, where Giffords was shot 2 weeks ago–that’s the place), and the whole time I was there, I never saw it come to the surface. There were HINTS of it at particular times prior to this in North Carolina (where I grew up), but in 10 years in the desert, not a hint of it ever.

    I moved to east Texas 5 years ago, and it came storming back to the surface. It goes “dormant” and when it does I do what I want; when it’s “present,” I can barely even pick up a pencil without gasping for air. Fortunately, I FINALLY have been given medication which seems to control it.

    But when it’s “dormant,” I can be around all forms of smoke etc, and nothing comes of it. When it’s “alive,” even bug spray can trigger it. I believe it’s allergy-based, as I also have allergy problems (I’ve been known, at times, to sneeze 12 times in a row!), and they, too, were dormant during my time in Arizona.


  63. Sky January 20, 2011 at 3:02 am #

    Ah, the questionnaire. I got an oral version. I most recall our pediatrician asking us if we had guns in the house, and when I said yes, asking us if we kept them locked up. At that time, my baby was 3 months old, and utterly incapable of the physical manipulation required to fire a gun, even accidentally. And they need this information…why? I mean, do piss poor parents who blow smoke directly in their kids’ faces and leave their loaded guns lying in the toy chest come into the pediatrician’s office and, after completing the questionnaire. say, “Oh, I never thought about not doing that. Thanks for the advice!”

    I had a pediatrician tell us my daughter’s BMI was “heavier than we like to see” (two years running). He didn’t particularly push it or try to make me feel guilty about it (other than suggesting that maybe we switch her to skim milk – which, oh, by, the way, she’s been on since the age of 2 and that we cut down on the juice, which, oh yeah, she already was drinking less than 7 oz. of a day), but when he told me this, I asked, “Are you serious? I mean, look at her.” She’s not twiggy skinny, but you certainly can’t see rolls of fat on her. I don’t even think you could pinch fat on her. At the time, she was 6 and wearing a size 6X. She’s a streak of ceaseless energy; I mean, she rarely ever sits still to the point we used to worry she was hyperactive. She runs laps around the house for fun. She plays outside regularly. She’s done dance, gymnastics, and swimming, and she mastered the monkey bars at the age of 3. So her BMI is a little high on the chart, but BMI doesn’t take into account muscle mass vs. fat, so, really, just look at her. Does she LOOK overwieght? “Well,” he said, something to the effect of – “At this age we actually like to see a little ribs.” WHAT?!!?

    I left very much doubting all this media alarm over the “childhood obesity epidemic.” As I said, he didn’t push it or make me feel guilty, but he mentioned it as a matter of course, in a way like – we have these charts, and these numbers, and this is what the numbers say, and no individualization or discretion is necessary. (Much like school zero tolerance policies – a one size fits all approach). I talked to some other friends about this, and I’ve had two who have had the same experience with their kids and (different) pediatricians, being told their kids were overweight (one even that she was obese) despite their kids not appearing at all fat.
    Other than this bit of nonsense, I have liked my pediatricians. They tend to be pretty nonchalant in general, and they don’t typically offer me advice unless I ask for it.

  64. Holby January 20, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    Esmerelda you Rock! for two reasons…1. You stood up for what you feel is best for your child and your family and 2. You were willing to put your story “out there’ despite the very real possibilities that people even on here would revert to telling you what you are doing wrong!
    Ignore them. Follow your own instincts and keep making the choices that work for you, your son and your husband.
    Sure, smoking is awful…but no household or home is 100% perfect. And you know what, people? There are people who are smoking crack and getting sloppy drunk in front of their kids. Children are abused, neglected…even have parents that *gasp* smoke in the same room with them. Get over yourselves. This is a family that makes CONSCIOUS decisions about what is THEIR best solution. Too many decisions about children are not so much decisions as reactions. Applaud the fact that their choices were deliberate instead of berating Esmerelda because it isn’t the decision YOU would make.
    Oh, and Elissa. Really??? You SHOWER after using bleach? See, I would find that excessive, but since it is YOUR decision about YOUR life, and impacts me not at all, I will leave it to you. (Please, before you cite the hazards of chemicals, know that I am a chemistry teacher).

  65. LEA January 20, 2011 at 3:22 am #

    Over the years I have discovered that most pediatricians have absolutely no idea what they are doing because they focus so heavily on areas of parenting and infant eating habits, which they have little to no training in at all. If they stuck to treating illness and injury they would be much better off. Often the things they tell parents are based more on opinions or snipets they read somewhere then actual information they could go into depth with you on if you questioned them on the source and study behind it.

    Although the smoke that lingers on a person probably does pose some risk to others it is most likely small and not something to be scared of. Asthma has both a genetic an eviromental link as well as a link to food allergies. Many things can trigger it. Many things in life pose risk to our children you simply have to judge how much of a risk it is and if you are comfortable with it.

    Because I have had it with the repeated unsolicited parenting advice and horrible breast feeding advice I switch to family practice doctors and don’t go for those well check ups, even as infants. My children do regularly see doctors because they are all active little buggers and we have a nice collection of braces, splints and slings as well as an x-ray collection. Then there are the illnesses. as infants they see the doctors twice once at two weeks and once at six months. I find this to be much less stressful and I simply refuse to fill out developmental checklists. If the doctor wants to know something they can take the time and ask me in a conversation. This eliminates a lot of the fear mungering because the doctor doesn’t usually want to actually ask and know the answer to the 50 or so questions on the forms, just the basics and if I have any concerns. I’m also not afraid to ask where the doctor got their information and can they share the actual study with me, as in give me a copy, write down the name and authors and medical journal so I can find it myself and decide the credibility and actual risk factor for myself. I know this is an unusual approach to medical visits for children but I wanted to say it to help people realize if you are tired of the unsolicited parenting advice, endless check ups to hear the same things, doctors that attempt to make you feel like the worst parent for doing normal things like leaving a your baby in a room alone or letting your kids play barefoot outside and those endless list of questions to fill out, well you don’t have to do it that way. It’s your child and your lives. Do what you are comfortable with even if it isn’t “normal”.

  66. Donna January 20, 2011 at 3:33 am #

    I can’t speak about the studies of 3rd hand smoke but must exist. Years ago I had a roommate who smoked. She smoked exclusively OUTSIDE the house, never inside. When I lived with her MY hair, clothes and skin REAKED of cigarette smoke. Even when I didn’t see her for days at a time, I stunk. I noticed it whenever I spent extended time in a non-smoking environment. I remember going to my grandmother’s and washing all the “clean” clothes that I brought with me shortly after I got there because they smelled so much like stale cigarette smoke. And this was strictly a platonic/separate rooms relationship so it’s not like I was hugging or sitting closely on the couch or sleeping in the same bed with her. You can’t tell me that babies, who are snuggling with their parents, don’t have the same effect.

    That said, my parents smoked my entire life – inside, in cars – and I’m as healthy as a horse. I don’t think that parents who smoke are damning their children’s lives but I have no interest in being exposed or having my child exposed to that disgusting smell on a regular basis.

  67. Amy January 20, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    I was also given the jazz-hands about “deadly” third-hand smoke at my son’s last appointment, and was instructed to “limit his exposure” to his family members who smoke. I don’t think we shall be treating our family as if they were lepers… sorry. Looking at the facts, we know that the WHO & the EPA both got in trouble for releasing “studies” that cherry-picked data and overemphasized the dangers of second-hand smoke; “studies” which led to the public outcry for smoking bans across the nation. The way they came up with the death toll is preposterous as well. Even people who were killed in a car accidents were lumped in, just because they lived with someone who smoked! The truth is smoking is very bad for your health, and second-hand smoke is harmful in large and consistent doses. However, there is absolutely NO evidence to suggest that third-hand smoke poses any risk. As a healthy skeptic who doesn’t believe everything she sees and reads until there is solid, unbiased scientific evidence to back it up… I just won’t go along with this third-hand smoke neologism.
    I was also informed by the same pediatrician that he needed speech therapy. He’d only been talking for 6 months at the time, and was still learning. He’s making great progress. I don’t see a problem. She had no problem understanding him when he was screaming, “NO! STOP IT!”, during the ear exam. She had also only been in the room with us for less than 5 minutes when she made the determination. When she gave me the brochure and started going over class options and pricing… that’s when it clicked. Dollar signs… Money and fear are making the world go ’round these days… even health-care.

  68. pebblekeeper January 20, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    I haven’t read through all of the 67 comments, a few of them were just too rude to read to make it worth my time – but I will give a shout out to Esmaralda and that cutie pie, y’all look so sweet together! We are always surprised at the tv shows and movies from the 80’s and before – of how EVERYONE has a smoke in their fingers. Seems like the Entire American Population would have all keeled over from cancer if this was really true. I remember when you could have ashtrays on your desk. The outrage when it was taken away. I smoked until a month before I was prego- and am glad I quit, but I love the smell at a bonfire or the beach or a bbq. Sounds like you are a big enough girl to shrug off all of the mean responses. 🙂

  69. Joe January 20, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    Don’t listen to the doctors or the people hear who have apparently joined if you smoke you are the devil camp. i don’t smoke – i think it is disgusting and no doubt it is bad for you and probably is not the best thing for those around you either. But neither is cake, or high fructose corn syrup or McDonalds, or alcohol or too much water (has been known to kill).

    You don’t have to be perfect and in fact the quest for perfection is futile.

  70. View Point January 20, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    I wonder why anti-smoking people here are NOT calling for an end to alcoholic beverage use. If you Google “Top 10 Dangerous Drugs,” you’ll find websites like this one: http://bit.ly/h8oEly listing alcohol at #5, while tobacco is way down at #9.

    Here are a couple more:



  71. Keri January 20, 2011 at 4:04 am #

    Thank you, susanstarr, for being a voice of reason.

  72. Sean January 20, 2011 at 4:04 am #

    A very quick summary of a fact here: carnciogens depend on dose, regardless what they are. You can find carcinogens in tobacco smoke, x-rays, asbestos, funky peanut butter, tooth paste, pool water, and barbecues to name a few. All depend on dose.

    Even if some carcinogen was absorded through the skin of a child of a smoker, the dose would be so small to not be worth mentioning.

    Science over ‘feelings’ please.

  73. spacefall January 20, 2011 at 4:08 am #

    I don’t think anyone is really saying this is a bad dad, just trying to correct the notion that washing one’s hands is enough to get rid of the smoke that clings (eg. to clothing). Which it definitely does. It’s probably a remote possibility that it will lead to long term damage in a child, however. A good doctor would give the parents this information in a non-judgemental way, so that they could make informed decisions based on medical facts.

    As an asthmatic, I’ve got to say that I absolutely *hate* sitting next to smokers on the bus, not because they’re bad people, but because they reek of the stuff and it makes it difficult for me to breathe. So it definitely clings, much more than a less-sensitive person might believe. That said, by far worse for my breathing than any smoke (even fresh from a cig) is perfume, which also causes a lot of health problems. I actually have to leave when I’m sitting next to someone wearing perfume that is at all noticeable. There is some disproportionate focus going on there, is all I’m saying.

  74. Julie January 20, 2011 at 4:25 am #

    ^EXACTLY!! I mentioned that earlier…my asthmatic husband and my prone-to-migraines self both loathe being near cigarette smoke…but perfumes and strongly scented ANYTHING are a problem as well. The doc can’t warn against one thing and not another!!

  75. Donna January 20, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    The difference between alcohol, high fructose corn syrup, McDonald’s or Twinkies is that those things only harm the people who chose to consume them (outside of DUI). Drinking tequila doesn’t effect others in the room in the least. You can’t smell it. You can’t get drunk from being in the same room. You can’t get alcohol induced liver failure from your father’s drinking. The only person effected is the person who makes the conscious choice to drink alcohol (eat Twinkies, McDonald’s, etc).

    Smoking directly effects any other people present. It’s virtually impossible to be in contact with someone who smokes without smelling it and breathing it in. If it is true that 2nd and 3rd hand smoke harms people, smoking is harming not only the people who smoke but also anyone in the vicinity. Even if such harm is not true, others are still forced to put up with the stink.

  76. mollie January 20, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    BMS, I LOVE your snarky exposition on the joys of the judgement leading up to adoptive motherhood. Been there! Done that!

    And all I can think about as I read both the original post and the comments is, “How do the French survive?”

  77. Brian January 20, 2011 at 4:30 am #

    I think the posts here really demonstrate the issue for pediatricians. We all know that health is greatly impacted by environment and developing “healthy habits.” 99% of medicine for young children has to do with observations and parenting instead of blood tests and analysis. Just compare your anual physical to your child’s. One is all blood work and numbers and the other is about growth and milestones.

    Suggesting that a parent quit smoking may have as much to do with the likelihood of the child of a smoker smoking in adolesence as it does “third hand smoke.” Same goes for BMI readings or suggesting that infants sleep on their backs. The doctor shouldn’t be arguing with you about these issues, they should be trying to educate you so you can make the best decision for you.

    There is a fine line between providing useful information based on recent studies and nagging. For me, it is most helpful when a doctor presents information instead of “rules.” However, there are many people who prefer rules to thinking. Hence there are those who say anyone who smokes has to shower before holding my child. Its easier to have a RULE to follow then to assess the data.

    Unfortunately, our medical system does not allow doctors to get to know families well enough to provide information in the way that is most helpful to each family. Finding a doctor who always agrees with you is not the best solution, rather it is finding one who presents information in a way that is most helpful to you.

  78. Donna January 20, 2011 at 4:31 am #

    “perfumes and strongly scented ANYTHING are a problem as well. The doc can’t warn against one thing and not another!!”

    Because perfume and strongly scented anything are only a problem to people who are sensitive to those things (myself included). Further, there hasn’t been a single study that has concluded that perfume, the use of or 2nd hand smell, may cause cancer.

  79. Jenne January 20, 2011 at 4:36 am #

    Re: Asthma– one thing that I read is that any concentration strong smell, especially those involving large ‘odor’ molecules in the air, can potentially trigger an asthma attack, whether it’s healthy for you or not. Asthma involves oversensitivity of the lung tissue, and overload (such as with concentrations of large scent molecules, such as lavender) can trigger spasms in the lungs.
    (I’m a hobby herbalist and I had to look this up because so many people I know have asthma.)

  80. Julie January 20, 2011 at 4:38 am #

    No, but the doctor wasn’t telling her that her husband needed to quit smoking or the baby would get cancer…he was telling her that the scent of the cigarette smoke could lead to respiratory problems…and strongly scented stuff CAN cause respiratory problems. I was just pointing out the inconsistencies.

    I agree that if the baby was constantly exposed to someone smoking nearby, then yes…cancer is a possibility (but not a for sure thing…else my years in Europe would have given me cancer). But that wasn’t what the doctor was chiding the mother about…he was chiding about respiratory issues. As someone who has a husband, two brothers, a nephew, and a niece who have asthma…I know it isn’t JUST cigarette smoke that makes them wheeze and gasp for breath.

    So if the doctor’s point was to protect against respiratory issues, then he should have also warned against perfumes, pine-sol, dreft, etc. etc.

  81. C. S. P. Schofield January 20, 2011 at 4:45 am #

    To all rabid anti-smokers;

    In the EPA report on the meta-study of ‘environmental tobacco smoke’ that is the basis of most secondhand smoke hysteria, the EPA states that the highest concentration of smoke they expect to find in the real world would – for somebody constantly exposed – amount to smoking two-fifths of a cigarette per day. I don’t know what dose of toxins you imagine you are being exposed to by people who smell of smoke (but who don’t smoke in your presence), but I strongly suspect that you are imagining yourself into illness.

    Of course I may have been prejudiced in this by the number of times I have been attacked in public by rabid anti-smokers who demanded that I put out – immediately – a cigar that was not, and never had been, lit ….. because the (non-existant) smoke was making them ill.

    I’m sorry; but if I haven’t smoked all day, bathe in the morning, and am wearing fresh clothes, you can’t smell tobacco smoke on me from several feet away outdoors.

    But you CAN imagine that you do.

  82. Sylvia_rachel January 20, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    Oh, what a darling baby! 😀 I love big fat baby cheeks:)

    RE: smoking, I’m kind of on the fence — I do get twitchy about smoke around babies, and it’s definitely true that smoke lingers in clothing, on skin, etc. — we have a relative who still smokes (the rest all used to but have quit), and gifts from her always have to be laundered, sometimes twice, to de-stink them, for example. But I’d be more inclined to commend mum for quitting and dad for taking precautions than to lecture about how it’s Still Not Good Enough. Condescension is so unhelpful.

    RE: back sleeping, mine never would either, but I concluded it didn’t matter because she also wouldn’t sleep alone, and the few times when she did momentarily stop breathing, I woke up, put a hand on her somewhere, and she took a big breath and lived to tell the tale. (This sounds very dramatic but it actually wasn’t: i was still mostly asleep, it was 99% involuntary reflex, I’m not sure I ever even mentioned it to the doctor.)

    I’d look around for a less uptight medical practice, I think. Lots of paediatricians are like ours — reassuringly unworried about the vast majority of things, supremely uninterested in most of the things that aren’t their business (e.g., where the baby sleeps, whether the three-year-old is still nursing), but quick to spot a genuine problem (child has scarlet fever and needs abx).

  83. Kelly January 20, 2011 at 5:20 am #

    Esmeralda, I like your spirit and I love your picture! Than you so much for speaking up. On a personal note, reading this brought tears to my eyes. “indoctrination into being obsessively vigilant” – yes. And it tears so many parents – especially mothers – up (and make no mistake, the judging and policing and endemically oppressive stuff ends up levied at moms/female carers more than dads/male carers). Then while ignoring these intense social pressures we blame those MOMS for being “neurotic” (some people commenting on this very site have done so).

    You are so ahead of the curve. I bought the “perfect vigilant mom” prescriptives. It made me a wreck. I recovered. But I’ll never have those days with my young babies back. I enjoyed those days but I could have enjoyed them so much more. I didn’t even see the oppressiveness you’re pointing to, here.

    Not only will you likely have more fun parenting your kiddo(s) in these early months but you’ll be that breath of fresh air so many other parents (esp. moms) need. Believe me, that is a boon. Thank you for your post!

  84. Holby January 20, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    @Donna: “The difference between alcohol, high fructose corn syrup, McDonald’s or Twinkies is that those things only harm the people who chose to consume them (outside of DUI). Drinking tequila doesn’t effect others in the room in the least. You can’t smell it. You can’t get drunk from being in the same room. You can’t get alcohol induced liver failure from your father’s drinking. The only person effected is the person who makes the conscious choice to drink alcohol (eat Twinkies, McDonald’s, etc). ”

    Really? I currently have my niece and her two children living with me as a direct result of alcohol. Have you ever seen a truly drunk person? You don’t think poor judgement has an effect on children? What about violence, driving while intoxicated, and have you ever been in the room with someone who is sleeping off a drunk? It comes out of their pores. Let’s not discuss the financial impact of alcohol abuse on a family. And HFCS? Well, as people in the post above chastised Esmerelda because her husband “didn’t care enough about their child to want to stay around,” I think I will jump on the over-reaction bandwagon and say that once you have a child, you can no longer do ANYTHING that might shorten your life…change your diet, your driving habits, get rid of that cell phone (brain cancer, you know), no more alcohol, cigarettes, gambling (yes even the football pool has to go). Do not overindulge, overspend, overlook or over-react to anything ever again!

    Does that work for those of you on this page who have seen fit to demonize a guy over one decision that YOU DON”T AGREE WITH????

  85. wellcraftedtoo January 20, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    Happiness is a fat doctor who smokes.

    Hee hee…

  86. enyawface January 20, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    @Mike – I’m more concerned about were your ‘Doctor Friend” got HIS medical degree. Carcenogens, lke medicines can definately be trasnfered by skin contact and absorbed by the skin. Ever heard of the nicotine patch? Ever seen the warning on most household cleansers “Avoid skin contact” SO, yes, theorertically, the few carcinogens on Dad’s skin could be transferred to the baby’s skin when he picks him up. Causing respiraitry illness??? Doubtful.
    Asthma not genetic? I guess the oxford journal of medicne is wrong and every doctor I’ve ever been to fro the disease as weel. Astham runs in families, and is most likely caused by many factors, INCLUDING, a genetic prediposition.
    Mike, stop trying to play Doctor and tell your “Doctor Friend” to stop trying to practice medicine without a brain, or obviosuly a mdeical education.

    Personally, the smoking, thing, yes it would be healthier for Dad if he quit, but I think it’s a personal thing as long as he isn’t smoking around the baby.

    And Esmeralda, cute baby pic. Good for you not being scared off by the estimated 500 million pedophiles in America (population 312 Million).

  87. LeeAnne January 20, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    I once had a pediatrician ask me if we had guns in the house–it was at a six month well baby checkup, in fact. My husband was on a collegiate rifle team, is an occasional hunter, and is in the military–he feels passionately about responsible gun ownership. So, I answered truthfully, that we have many guns in the house, all locked up in a gun safe. She warned me about depression in adolescent males and instructed me to get the guns out of the house at the first sign of depression. Again, my son was all of six months old…. She acted like I was letting my son use the glock for a rattle!

  88. Jen C. January 20, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    LOL @ wellcraftedtoo

    I don’t remember who said it (and I’m not about to go through all these comments again to find out), but making the assumption that a parent who smokes doesn’t want to be around for their children is ludicrous.

    Anyone who has smoked for an extended period of time will tell you that quitting is the most difficult thing to do. I, personally, would rather go through drug-free labor again than deal with the withdrawal symptoms I have. Besides the typical physical withdrawal symptoms, you also suffer disruptions in sleep patterns, nightmares when you CAN sleep, fidgeting, feeling cranky….

    And then there’s the psychological withdrawal. You can’t think about anything BUT smoking, you feel anxious and nervous and depressed. Some long-term smokers even go through a grieving process similar to that which you go through after a death. You have to learn how to live as a non-smoker. It sounds simple, but if you’ve smoked for a large portion of your life, chances are you can’t remember a time that you DIDN’T smoke, and adjusting to the new reality is extremely difficult.

    So to make the assumption that a smoking parent doesn’t care about being around for their children is not only wrong, it is insensitive and insulting. I want to be around for my children, it’s why I have decided to quit smoking. But please, don’t pretend that it’s all a matter of willpower and desire, as if we smokers could snap our fingers and be done with it just like that. If we could, the tobacco industry would be bankrupt in a matter of days.

  89. Tommy January 20, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Drs like this are the kind who wanted Dr. Spock silenced when he told women:
    “Your instincts are good.”

    The revised edition reads something like:
    “You know more than you think you do,” but the message remains the same: no doctor, no nurse, no midwife, *nobody* knows your baby as well as you do, Esmerelda.

    Life is too short to put up with insane people. Kill your TV & find a new doctor.

  90. Ella's Mommy January 20, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    Good for you, Esmeralda! I take my 2 month old baby to Kaiser and have to fill out a silly questionnaire like that every time. I just fill in the answers that I know they want, and then go about living my life in a reasonable manner. They also have me fill out a questionnaire to see if I’m depressed and/or abused at EVERY visit. Some of the questions are so silly … like, am I having a hard time sleeping? Well .. duh! I’m a new mom! Anyway, kudos to you for your common sense approach to a medical care system that can be nutty at times.

  91. Metanoia January 20, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    I have athsma. It is genetic. And yes, both my parents did, and still do smoke, but it never changed the severity of my athsma. Are you going to stop walking down the street because of the car fumes?

    Honestly, if the husband must smoke, doing it outside is wonderful! Much better than what I had to go through with my father puffing away inside (even into my face if he happened to have been helping me with school work) – The only effect it had is that I resolved not to take up the nasty habit myself.

    Esmerelda, good on you and hubby, and good on you for quitting smoking yourself. Sounds like you’re both doing a great job raising your new son.

  92. Katarina Navane January 20, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    For the most part I agree here, but I must say, I don’t know if smoke like that can Cause athsma, that sounds a bit excessive, but I already have athsma and someone sitting near me (or sometimes even across the room) who has been smoking (outdoors) recently is enough to set it off. And my athsma is pretty mild.

  93. baby-paramedic January 20, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    My Mother has a fair few children. We are all small. May have something to do with our parents being small (funny that).
    First child was tiny, not making any of the growth charts. She went to the maternity-nurse full of fears. Maternity-nurse looked at my parents and told her “You are 5″, your husband is 5″2. Were you expecting a monster?”. Morther’s worries alleviated.

    15 years later the youngest comes along. A boy, not making the growth charts. New maternity-nurses are worried he isn’t making the growth charts. Mother laughs at them – all her children were small and he is the normal size for one of us. And then thanked her lucky stars this was her last baby, not her first.

  94. Marty January 20, 2011 at 8:49 am #


    thanks for pointing out the dose of the poison argument. well-said!

  95. Maureen January 20, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Congratulations on your cutie, Esmeralda! And good for you making decisions that are right for you and your family, while avoiding the scare mentality of today’s society. Ignore the people commenting on here that don’t really get it.

  96. Mom of Boys January 20, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    RE: to jrmiss86: I don’t believe the health reports on 2nd hand smoke! I did not and nor did my husband EVER smoke and my son has ASTHMA! My parents did smoke when I was very young and only 1 of 4 kids has SLIGHT ASTHMA and we are all well into our 40’s … huh … seems more like people just don’t like the “linger” … or maybe we have been “influenced” to think it’s bad!

  97. Cheryl W January 20, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    My sons, 6 and 8 have a well child check up next week. We will have to see what the doctor says, but if I get any of those questions about leaving them alone when they are out in the yard, the answer is “Of course I do!”

    Like others, I down play what I tell them. My husband used to hunt. Everything is in parts, in multiple areas. I grew up in a hunting house (as did my husband) and there were two shotguns behind the kitchen door that could be grabbed as needed at the sound of a honk during goose season. They were there when friends came over as well, and we were well informed about how to treat guns. (My step father was almost killed by a friend when he was 10 or so, when the friend wanted to “play” with his father’s gun. He did not know it was loaded.)

    This dad is doing a decent job of limiting exposure for his son who currently has no issues. Should the baby develop asthma, then they would be well advised to determine the cause and to perhaps quit smoking. But asthma can be caused by molds, and even virus. My son has the virally induced form – smoking (at his friend’s house) has not induced an attack. Nor did the mold in the previous rental that we lived in. Only colds – including the swine flu – so now we all get our flu shots every year.

  98. dmd January 20, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Robin I didn’t ever say that my situation proved anything. But there is nothing remotely healthy about smoking – inside, outside, down the block. If you have proof that there is, please share it with the world. The dwindling number of smokers are waiting.

  99. Mom of Two January 20, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Esmerelda, your baby is BEAUTIFUL!!! Congratulations. And thanks for sharing your story.

  100. esmeraldasquietlife January 20, 2011 at 11:40 am #


  101. Pamala January 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    The only thing I don’t agree with is the smoking. Not only for your hubbies health but how anyone puts up with that nasty habit is beyond me. I tend to just nod and agree with the doctor and go on from there and do what I know is best. No need to argue with a doctor.

  102. SKL January 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Wow, a lot of comments! I could only read some of them.

    I agree with those who suggest you look for another doctor with whom you will relate better. At the very least, don’t let the doc intimidate you. It is obvious that you are an intelligent person with instincts that will protect your baby more than hyper-vigilance could.

    As for the smoking, realistically, I think your doctor is going overboard, but my bigger concern would be that your child could eventually become a smoker himself. It’s hard to tell a kid that something his dad does is deadly, foolish, disgusting, or whatever. I had a friend who died of lung cancer, and it isn’t pretty.

  103. Smoker's Child January 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    My mom smoked. Quit during pregnancy, and then was very careful to smoke outside only. I had terrible respiratory problems for years. The smoke not only lingers, it clings, and the clothes and skin do reek and the fumes are brought in and come off the clothes. But she was addicted, had been smoking since she was a teen. I took care of her while she died of lung cancer. That’s something else. It’s not pleasant, it’s months of agonizing pain. Definitely the most stressful experience of my life. She never got to do the things she wanted to do in retirement because of all the sickness the smoking cause.

    Would have been better if she had never smoked but what can you do. Smokers are entitled to smoke, get sick, die, and leave their families behind. That’s what they do.

  104. chris January 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    My Dad used to let me roll his cigarettes for him, while telling me, “don’t you ever smoke, it’s stupid, a waste of money, and damages your health”
    My parents didn’t hide anything from me. We had no money, had to turn off the electricity completely for a few waking hours every day just so that we could afford the bills and dinner was beans, beans and more beans. but still, at the age of 6, my father was finding enough money to pop in to my hand every day to go to the village shop to pick up “My Daddy’s tobacco and cigarette papers, please” and I’d look at the money in my hand and wonder what else we could spend the money on that would be nice for everyone and not just my father.
    I watched him try and try and try to give up and saw how much hell he went through each time, and he’d say “You see this? never ever take up smoking” and he’d tell me about when he started smoking at the age of 9 and how much he regretted it. Neither me or my siblings ever took up smoking.
    But, I must say, sitting with my father, helping him roll his cigarettes – i liked that.
    Families are all different and have their own ways of dealing with things, of teaching important lessons and living out their problems together. They should be allowed to do that, they should be given space to do that.

  105. Tracey Groombridge January 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Alcohol and smoking will always divide the country, so many views a few facts and lots of myths. Don’t think i will weight in on these tonight.
    Had a free range anxiety attack today wanted to shre with you. We have discovered this morning that we have a resident tiger snake living in our yard. He’s fat, fast and extremly deadly (4 th deadlist in the world).
    Had an anxiety attack about kids getting bitten and dying, then free range mum kicked into action. Called the reptile rescue people, they came and talk with us for ages amount all the myths associated with snakes and our son has now named the sname COCO.
    After weighing up the facts and knowing how to reduce the risks of getting bitten we will still let the now informed kids out to play. Oh the joys of living in our beautiful country australia.

  106. Metanoia January 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    I can’t believe how off topic the comments have gone. This article wasn’t about the fathers smoking habits! Did anyone read past the second paragraph?

  107. rachel moses January 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    we’ve found that the smartest thing to do is get responsible for your own and your families health care. I’ve not been very impressed with these supposedly “educated” docs, around here at least. (In rural Maine, this may be a downside of our geographic location.)

    Obviously there are accidents with active kids- i’ve already been to the ER twice with my little boy who is 4, but just eating well , and yes, eliminating things like tobacco and booze is the healthiest environment for a kid. (i smoked heavily for many years but husband and i both quit months before concieving our first child. I can certainly understand the addiction, but also now nine years free of butts I can tell you that i smell it on people in line in front of me in the store and it smells seriously nasty for all of us people who dont smoke. i’m not 100% convinced and will have to look that up – but there may actually be something to the doc’s idea that even the residue on your partner’s breath could harm your kiddo)

    its interesting to me that they would spend so much time on that when i doubt a doc spends any time at all harassing women about the dangers of choosing to bottle feeding- or circumcision , as far as the overall detriment to the health of the child! its so sad.

  108. Keely January 20, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    At my Pediatrician there is a very obvious CODE on the questionaire. The answers they want you to give all have squares and the answers that will send up flags all have circles. It literally says for example “Does your child always ride in a carseat while traveling?” and there is a square to check for yes and a circle to check for no. I don’t even read the questions I just check the squares—except for the “Is your child breastfed?” question that has a square for NO–even on the first visit form!!???

  109. Mind if I fart? January 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    Smoking is Contagious

  110. North of 49 January 20, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    that questionnaire is nothing but a fishing expedition to sic child services on parents who don’t pass it according to the eyes of the person administrating it.

  111. Elissa January 20, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    Holly – yes, I do shower after using bleach…depending on what I’m doing with it. A tablespoon of bleach in a bucket of water to sanitize, no…a handwashing is fine, as bleach dries my skin and I can’t stand the smell. After the deep clean I do of the cat boxes a few times a year where I scrub them, bleach them and spray them with the garden hose. You bet! I’m covered with god knows what, bleach probably being the LEAST of my concerns at that point.

    Everyone has there own comfort level with what “toxins” they allow in their houses. I have friends who swear off standard deodorant because its dangerous. Others I know don’t use scented or colored detergents. One friend won’t let shoes in her house AT ALL – something about the dirt and toxins that are on the sidewalks. I shower after using chemicals, and am careful about what I cook with olive oil because it has a low smoke point (I use avocado oil for high heat cooking). To each their own.

    My comment was from my point of view. I said I would be hard pressed to expose my baby to third hand smoke on a regular basis. But that is me. I will expose my child to things that other people, I’m sure, would be shocked and appalled at.

    I don’t think smokers are the devil or evil. Its their thing just as my addictions to fried and salty food are mine. Does that mean I’m going to expose my kid to french fries and potato chips every day? NO! Will they eat a happy meal several times a year? Yes. Will they be exposed to second and third hand smoke? of course. We don’t live in a bubble. It happens.

  112. Ana January 21, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    While I don’t know of any evidence that third-hand smoke “causes diseases”, it can certainly exacerbate asthma in kids that have it. Given the prevalence of asthma, its not a bad idea for parents to THINK about stopping smoking when children are born, in case they really will be advised to in the future. That being said, the heavy handed, accusatory methods used by the doctor are (obviously) off-putting, and over-the-top.

    For those that say that answering the questionnaires are “dangerous” because doctors are mandatory reporters—the degree of mistrust in the medical profession is truly saddening. I work in a Children’s Hospital. I have seen terrible things—truly horrifying things done to children by their “caretakers”—do you think someone is going to report that you left the baby alone for 5 minutes to go to the bathroom? Do you REALLY think that?
    I suspect that these are “standard” questionnaires designed by the state; the doctors probably skim it to get a sense of what is going on, and move on.

    That being said, if you are not comfortable with your provider, definitely shop around. Its important that you trust the pediatrician you choose, and not everyone is a good fit for every family.

  113. stephanie January 21, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Quitting smoking is better but washing up is a good start. Addictions are hard to kick. Minimizing other risk factors for respiratory problems is probably a good idea but it sounds like you have a workable plan.
    My daughter was born in a hospital (we stayed
    for 36 hours) and she was sleeping on her side. The nurse went ballistic, acted like we didn’t know what we were doing and put her on her back . We told her we put her on her back but she kept flipping over. The nurse kind of harrumphed, turned around and checked whatever it was she was checking me for. The nurse then looked at my sleeping daughter in the bassinet who had promptly flipped back on her side. We did not hear another word about sleeping positions from anyone until we went home.

  114. Shaylene Haswarey January 21, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    First of all, change your doctor. I always chose doctors who has the same parenting technique as myself. For example, there parents who go by ‘attached parenting’ philosophy. There are other parents, like myself, who go by the “Baby Wise” philosophy.

    I chose a doctor who agrees with “Baby Wise”, so we were on the same page. Because we parented almost the same way, I felt more comfortable asking him questions.

    If you chose to find another doctor, YOU interview the doctor. If you agree with his/her parenting styles and feel comfortable, that is the doctor for you.

    BTW putting a baby on their back is not 100% guaranteed. Moms in Asia are told to put their babies on their stomachs. For some reason, their babies are still alive!!!

  115. Barbara January 21, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    Thank you for posting about the unrealistic and hyper-paranoid attitudes of a lot of western doctors. What is up with the whole, never sleep with your baby thing?! What! My wife and I would like to sleep, and our baby sleeps better with us or at the very least in the same room (our bedroom is small :)). We are super lucky that our just over 2 month old sleeps 5+ hours per night, but that still means I’m up at 2:30-3 AM every night changing and feeding her, but somehow putting her in another room and letting her get even hungrier and crankier is supposed to be better than her sleeping all cozy and warm in our bed/bedroom. By the by you western docs/medical professionals out there, 90% of the rest of the world sleeps with their babies and everyone is happier for it!

    We’ve dealt with the smoking thing too, because our donor is a social smoker and a doctor basically said our daughter would have birth defects (ridiculous!) because he smoked occasionally. Oh and now they also said he shouldn’t touch the baby, even though he always washes up first if he has smoked before coming over. He was so generous to donate to us and got every medical test known to man on his own dime, but our good friend is going to hurt the baby he helped make, just stupid and insulting.

    I’m all for being careful, but there is such a thing as too careful!

  116. Carrie January 21, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    I used to smoke and quit. It’s not easy for me to defend smokers, but…
    I have to think the contact with a smoker who isn’t smoking is pretty insignificant, as far as threats to a child’s health go. I’m completely against smoking around children and cringe to see a pregnant woman light up, but the father leaves the house to smoke and doesn’t smoke in the car or around them.

    I think it would have been more appropriate for the doctor to inform the mother that smoking is unhealthy, causes illness and disease, is expensive, and a socially isolating activity. It’s enough to remind her that the father may lose years with his children and miss out on spending time with them while he smokes than to suggest some residue *may* harm them. It’s reasonable to suggest he should consider quitting because his family wants him in their lives, but to use some bizarre, obscure threat seems misguided.

  117. Meggles January 21, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Unfortunately, Esmeralda, you’re going to have to get used to feeling like the odd one out in our crazy society. You can always come here and enjoy being among like-minded people, but my best advice is to ignore all the articles, strangers, doctors, etc. who want you to be desperately afraid about rearing a child. The sign of being a “good” parent these days is not someone who facilitates growth in their children, but seeks to bubble-wrap their kids against every normal human experience.

    I don’t know how got to this point, but you’re right; society does want parents to live in fear.

  118. Jen January 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Can’t say I’ve read all the comments. Will add my comments, though.

    First, I’ve filled out the stupid forms, too. I answer as I know they want to hear. I figure the forms are mostly for the idiots who don’t know any better, and around here, there are a lot of people who I have no doubt answer fully honestly and get in trouble. My area also has a very high poverty rate, a very high teen pregnancy rate, and a very high high-school drop out rate. All of this leads to a high incidence of bad parenting, which is usually caught at the dr or the local WIC office.

    Second, I applaud the husband for limiting his son’s exposure to smoke. I know that there is a lot worse stuff in the air you breath every day. I will say, however, that I spend very little time with my relatives that smoke, whether at their homes or at mine. I am very allergic to cigarette smoke, and literally cannot breath if I am exposed to it. This includes smoke lingering on my grandmother’s clothing or skin, in her car, in my MIL’s house (even though she only smokes outside). I can barely hug my grandmother because the smoke is just embedded in her skin after 40 years of smoking.

    Third, definitely make sure you’re comfortable with your child’s doctor. We go to a practice where there are 3 doctors. We really like one (the most experienced, with 3 kids of her own) and I will actually call one or two days before our appointments to make sure the doctor we like will be there. We have had an over-reaction issue with the youngest doctor in the practice (only 3 years out of med school and no kids of her own), and had to really put my foot down and demand a visit with our regular doctor to stop the insanity. After ONE visit with my daughter (ever!) the dr was throwing around “failure to thrive” and demanding we go have a huge series of blood-work and other tests done on a 15 month old. I KNEW there was nothing at all wrong with my daughter. She’s been tall but thin since birth, but growing on a steady curve and hitting all of the key calculations based on birth weight, not average charts.

  119. Aly K January 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    Wow! I’m glad I don’t have one of those forms. We are asked if we are smokers, if our house was built before 1978 and if we are on city water. G-d forbid I let my baby fall asleep on his belly during tummy time.

    I recently read an article that a lot of the SIDS prevention activities (back sleeping and pacifiers) actually prevent the babies from developing as quickly. They don’t grow as quickly when they are always in REM sleep and not deep sleep and don’t turn themselves over as quickly when they don’t spend a lot of time on their tummies.

    Sigh… 10 years from now, there will be new suggestions… Just the new ones for VBACs.

    Your daughter is gorgeous, btw. Congrats!

  120. Jessika January 22, 2011 at 5:31 am #

    Glad to hear you changed doctors. That was going to be my advice. We all feel that kind of pressure sometimes and actually my first encounter with our dear Lenore was because I was feeling SO bad after I couldn’t breast-feed my baby longer (only for about 4 months). Some comments from people, the media and friends were killing me, until I read one of her articles. Relax and enjoy your beautiful baby!!!

  121. Smoker's Child January 22, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    “This article wasn’t about the fathers smoking habits!”

    A big part of the article was that the doctor gave a lecture about how smoking is bad and leads to sickness, which the mother found offensive. However, the doctor was definitely doing his job and it would be wrong of him not to have given those warnings, even though he knew they didn’t care and wouldn’t listen.

  122. mike January 24, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    Good For you Esmeralda! Good for you for being smart, and rational enough to resist the BS. My home is a very similar situation, and we got the same stupid fear mongering. It’s bull, and some of it is propagated by the ANTI-smoking (prohibitionists) special interest groups. I feel most lonely when I am in the company of feeble minded, irrational ppl who have actually allowed themselves to be persuaded by such nonsense. I’d glad you were smarter than the avg bear!

  123. mike January 24, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    REPLY @ Jessika:

    Oh, you mean you were accosted by the BREAST MILK NAZI’s? Sorry to hear, but we were too. Those ppl are seriously distorted and rabid. My wife tried to BF both our children, and there were “problems” on both attempts. In explaining this to some “others” — I was lectured on all of the benefits and advantages that BF babies have. Of course, as time progressed, I learned via empirical FACTS that this is BS. And, as you might imagine, both turned out to be perfectly healthy and well adjusted children despite — OMG!! OH NO -NOT being BF !?!??! after about 4 mos. The Breast Feeding Clan is like Dog Show Fanatics — Plain NUTZ!

  124. Esmeralda M Rupp-Spangle January 24, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    Wow! I read most of these comments, and there are several people whose stories and opinions I was delighted by and some, well- not so much. But it’s a touchy subject and when Lenore told me she was going to print this I assumed there would be some intense discussion at the very least… I was not wrong!

    Ok, in general, as a response to the “thirdhand smoke is bad it will give him asthma or make him smoke etc etc” people:
    I don’t smoke, and my Hun smokes “lightly” and by lightly I mean 3-4 cigarettes a DAY. This is pretty impressive considering we were both at one time pack-a-day smokers. I HONESTLY do not think smoking in moderation is any worse for you that oh, say (sorry L!) *cough* taking the subway in New York everyday, say. I mean, how much crap do you think is drifting around in the air in Manhattan? Lord, I bet the healthiest person there has blacker lungs than anyone would like to admit. Air pollutions is serious business. There are carcinogens in the atmosphere of every major city from factories and cars that you simply ingest just by LIVING there.
    I’m not trying to apologize for smokers- I don’t think it’s a fabulously glamorous habit, and I’m sure the world would be a shinier place if they were gone for good- but it would also be better if there were no more cars or alcohol. We all have our vices and our imperfections.
    Personall, I feel vices are a part of being human and enjoying our lives. Anything that’s fun is bad for you. The trick is not overindulging, which is a distinction that Americans in particular can’t seem to make.
    For several years I smoked 1-2 fancy Nat Sherman cigarettes a day, and didn’t feel an overwhelming need for smoking- but I ENJOYED it. It was when I started hanging around with heavy smokers and really letting it take over that I stopped liking it and started needing it.
    This is all beside the point- The crux of the matter is- I don’t think occasional third hand smoke is going to debilitate my baby any more than living in a city. There are some of you who clearly think I’m the devil for saying that, but – sorry- I don’t thik it’s reasonable to demand that anyone who has any contact with kids not smoke ever, unless we demand the same thing about people who drive nonelectric cars. 😀

    As for the questionaire:
    It seems ABSURD that my child’s medical doctor can have any say about how I care for him. I’m sure most of the stuff they’re asking is reasonable- but that’s NOT THE POINT. It is not the doctor’s job to tell me how to be a mom! It is her/his job to give him his vaccinations, tend to him when he’s sick, chart his growth… not ask a bunch of irrelivent nonmedical questions about how I take care of him. Like I said, the questions themselves are not *completely* insane. I can see why someone might like to know if you’re putting your three month old on the floor and leaving for an hour at a time- but even if I WAS to do something that idiotic, it’s not his doctor’s job to tell me how to parent. It’s invasive, and infringes on my privacy, well-intentioned though it may be.

    There were some really great comments from people on here –
    Thank you all, *even the people who think I’m being awful*- for your input and opinions- this has been an awesome thread to read, and I think all of you have really interesting and valid opinions, except for the person who said that they are happy that all smokers are eliminating themselves D:. Way to be a downer, meancommenter!
    My mom died of cancer a few years ago. She never smoked a cigarette, or did drugs, and drank only a gin and tonic every blue moon. She was an excersize addict, vegetarian health nut. She lived on plain steamed asparagus & ate organic lettuce leaves like a bingeing rabbit. She swam 50-100 laps a day, speed walked over an hour a day carrying 5lb rocks in each hand… and she was dead before she was 55 from cancer.
    My dad did enough drugs in the 60s-70s to kill a small herd of yak. He’s got diabetes, no teeth, and smokes almost 2 packs of nonfilters a day, and somehow, he’s the one who’s still happily ticking along like he’s twenty.
    I’m not saying that this is proof of anything. Bad habits increase your risk of early death, to be sure, but there’s a certain amount of risk that we all take simply by living in this world. We all have to make the choices about what vices are worth it to us, and to what degree we will indulge them. Driving, smoking, drinking, gambling, dating, leaving your house… all of these things can be dangerous to you and your family if done incautiously, but it’s rising above the fear and living rationally that free-range parenting is about, imho.

  125. Mike January 24, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    Hey “Buzz” , howza about you “lighten” up? You’re the only a$$hat… Calm down — and stop watching Main-stream-media.

    “a line that cannot be crossed?” BUZZ, seriously, are you kidding me? Even for those parent that smoke aware from their children, as in “outside”?

    Gimme a break… Do you also start your car down the street to to ensure the Kiddies dont get Carbon Mon. Poisoning?

  126. Esmeralda M Rupp-Spangle January 24, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    Thanks mike!
    That’s kinda what I was going for only in a totally roundabout insanely wordy way.

  127. Sera January 24, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    You know, with all the debate about the kid getting hurt from third hand cigarette smoke hanging around, I’m surprised that nobody’s gone straight to the most likely consequence of the father smoking – either a premature death or a particularly unpleasant and complicated death for the father, either one of which the kid will have to deal with down the track, and neither one of which I’d ever want to deal with in my own father (note: wikipedia sez that the average male in the USA lives 75 years, male smokers lose 13 years, = dead at 62).

    To those who believe that getting sick from an “odour” or “smell” is laughable: fairly simple cellular biology. In order for your sensory cells to detect something, they must come into contact with that something. Ergo, if you can smell something, you are breathing some quantity of it in.

    While I hate smoking and smokers with a vehment passion (honestly, they STINK, they’re clogging up our medical services, and they litter our cities, towns and countryside with cigarette butts), I don’t think it’s likely that the kid would be exposed to enough third-hand smoke to get sick from it. The biggest danger I see is the kid taking up smoking himself later in life.

    Also, re. doctors with a huge long questionairre when you bring in your kid: you are aware that often the point of this questionairre is to give the doctor a good set of background info about your kid and his environment? This is so it is quicker and easier for your child’s doctor to determine likely causes of any complications it has in the future, not always because the doctor is trying to find out if you are parenting in a perfect, medically-approved manner or not.

  128. Esmeralda M Rupp-Spangle January 24, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    sera, I guess you missed the super-long comment I just made, look 2 comments over yours. I have addressed these arguments 😀 But thanks for your input.

    As for my guy cutting his life short- 4 cigarettes a day is unlikely to truncate his life that much, but it may-I hope not.

    I’m sorry you hate smokers. That’s a lot of people to hate, it must make you feel angry a LOT!

  129. Esmeralda M Rupp-Spangle January 24, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    ps, that came out sounding really passive agressive, which was NOT how I meant it, sorry

  130. Mike January 24, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    Well, there you go, THERE is where uncover the real threat:

    “Ergo, if you can smell something, you are breathing some quantity of it in.”

    Sera, you need to “detox” yourself — and really think *** HARD ** about that comment. I assume you’ve pulled our your chemist lab, and found true analytical results of that? Or, is it that you are so rabid, about YOUR OPINIONS, that you false believe things that are not true?

    Sera wrote: “While I hate smoking and smokers with a vehment passion”

    I think you need to find an outlet, to refocus your attention, my dear Sera.

  131. Abolitionists_Suck January 24, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    @Tracy; RE: “Alcohol and smoking will always divide the country, so many views a few facts and lots of myths.”

    Oh yeah, we’ll we should throw in the topic of GUNS; Or better, Guns in the house, to watch these Control freak “takers”, go nuts

    I must admit, if I/ve learned one thing from Reading *Most* of these posts = Lenore has A LOT OF WORK TO DO. We got a lot that need more therapy, Lenore. LOL.

    It is absolutely SCARY UNREAL how easily manipulated and leveraged on FAUX facts some ppl are.

  132. Sera January 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm #


    “Sera, you need to “detox” yourself — and really think *** HARD ** about that comment. I assume you’ve pulled our your chemist lab, and found true analytical results of that? Or, is it that you are so rabid, about YOUR OPINIONS, that you false believe things that are not true?”

    No, it really is true. I’m a university chemistry student, and in my first year I needed to study cell and molecular biology. In order for your sensory cells to detect something, that something needs to come into direct physical contact with those cells. I’m not saying that there has to be MANY – indeed, you can smell things that are only present in very trace quantities. It does, however, mean that if you can smell something, there must be some particles of that something physically inside your nose – and if they’re there, they’ll also be in your lungs. I realise that this has a lot of unpleasant implications – consider that you can smell poop, all kinds of pesticides, petrol, etc etc.

    This was taught to me by university professors, so evidently somebody certainly did “pull out their chemist’s lab and found true analytical results of this”. That person was not me – this is not news in biology by a long stretch – but someone did.

    Just take a think about it, though. How do you think smells carry? It’s not by magic, and it’s not some sort of energy. It’s airborne particles floating around.

  133. @ Sera January 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    um, ah, ok Sera, fair enough. Yes, modern science. We still don’t have a cure for the flu, but we can tell you if you smell something you could die of it. I remember reading in a Home Ec book in middle school that a women’s place was in the Kitchen too. I disagree with that too

    So, wait, I smell Poop now, right after reading that – What does that mean?

  134. pentamom January 25, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    Sera is technically correct that if you smell something, it is because molecules of that something are physically interacting with your olfactory nerves. She is correct — it’s not magic, it’s not “smell waves” floating through the air — it’s actual sub-microscopic amounts of the stuff contacting your body.

    However, EVERYTHING when it comes to toxicity is a matter of proportion. Your body’s natural defense mechanisms are able to alternatively fight off, counteract, absorb, detoxify, or block, a certain amount of any kind of toxin to the point where its presence *has no effect on you.* For very strong toxins, the amount you can tolerate is almost infinitesimal — it doesn’t take much plutonium to kill you. For others, it’s much larger.

    So the fact that a smell = a chemical interaction is absolutely true — it’s just that by itself, it *tells you nothing* about whether that interaction is actually significantly harmful to you. “If you can smell it, it’s doing something to you” is fallacious. It requires *actual research and testing* to find out if the amount of tobacco smoke residue left on someone’s washed hands is enough to harm someone, it can’t simply be assumed by the fact of its presence.

  135. Sera January 25, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    @ Who I presume must be Mike again – If that is your opinion, fair enough. All I can say is, some science is far easier than others. Observing something taking place or investigating a process that we have found is a lot easier than doing something like build a virus cure (for example, it’s a lot easier for you to observe that cars go from one side of a river to the other than it is for you to build a bridge for them).

    There is a bit of a difference between reading something in a non-science textbook in middle school, and being taught science by PhD-bearing university professors in a university lecture (And I shared that subject with first year students from various medical, biological and nutritional etc. courses). Scientists prize fact over pretty much anything else, and hence tend not to teach “opinions”.

    Science is here to serve you, and will help you if it can. Recall that a lot of Free-Range Parenting draws a lot of its strength from statistical sciences – every time somebody tells a FR parent that their kid will be kidnapped, raped and murdered, said parent can pull out the actual statistics for such things. (“See, my kid has a better chance of being killed by lightning than he does of being abducted by a stranger…”)

    Science is here to help you understand the world around you, and hence to empower you. You are not doing yourself any favours by choosing to disbelieve the parts of it that you don’t like.

  136. Mike January 25, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    Yeah, Sera, sorry bout that, put reply @ in wrong spot. Anyway, I hear what your saying, but I think a lot of what we’re bantering back and forth here is NOT Science Vs. Feelings… I’m all for the “science” but I think even within “science” their is an ability (or inability) to over zealously translate results. As was said above… What is the “true” exposure, and what is the true “risk”? Meaning, its not the “results” its the “interruption” of those results.

    To make a long story short, what you misunderstood is, I was or am referring to “confirmation bias” with results. That means, the so-called science that you are referring to (when it comes to BAD BAD BAD Smoking) would likely have a tendency to find or elude to “confirming” that third hand smoke is dangerous… but not specifying “at what level”?

    More specifically, I think you and others are using “confirmation bias” — You have induced inference that you are seeing what you expect, or what you want to see. This is what is happening with the “inconvenient” non-truths about Global Warming as well.

    Just my .02

    As for “There is a bit of a difference between reading something in a non-science textbook in middle school, and being taught science by PhD-bearing university professors in a university lecture”… Um, ah, err… Yeah, sure. You’re right — PHD Bearing Univ.’s are the “saviors of truth and wisdom” — OMIGAWD! PAAAAHLEEZE.

  137. Robin January 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    I’m reading a book about England in the 1800’s. They thought people got cholera from the ‘bad air.” They thought you could catch diseases from smelling them. Seems like second and third hand smoke fits that definition…

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  138. Esmeralda M Rupp-Spangle January 26, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    @ robin-

    “miasma” is the word you’re looking for.

    It’s one of my favorite out of vogue medical whimsies, along with trepanning and phrenology.

  139. pentamom January 26, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    Esmeralda, I’ll bet you like “humours,” too. 😉

  140. Robin January 26, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Esmerelda – okay, I admit, I had to look up the definitions of trepanning and phrenology. I studied accounting in college, not science (or psuedoscience, really). Of the 2, I think that trepanning seems to have the most potential. Should we bring that back as well as the theory of miasma? Maybe there’s a receptor on the skull that controls the absorption of chemicals?

  141. Sunny1 January 29, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    WTH is THIRD- hand smoke? Is this serious?

  142. JP Merzetti January 31, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    That doctor conveniently ignored the thousands of deadly toxins in our consumer environment, including seemingly innocuous household items…not to mention the harsh reality of our gas-fume spewing&guzzling culture. Automobility is probably the most dangerous harm to any child’s respiratory health.
    Oops – so easy to overlook, um?
    It’s wonderful that kids don’t have to be directly exposed to cigarette smoke anymore. I’m astonished to think how long it took our society to come to its senses and respect them enough.
    That said – my generation was smoke upon exponentially….and I got some tough lungs, baby.
    So perhaps a little bit of perspective is required…

  143. JP Merzetti January 31, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    hmmm. what are the asthma stats these days?
    how many kids with asthma have never been around a smoked cigarette…much less even seen one smoked.
    So where’s that asthma come from? Has to come
    from somewhere…………
    (some folks whistle past the graveyard)

  144. Mike Harris February 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    *scratches head* Esmeralda, why did you feel compelled to complete the form? Was it mandatory? What would have been the result of a refusal?

    I can’t see any benefit to you of a written record as intrusive as that.

  145. chris February 2, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    JP Merzetti: Smoking is DOWN and asthma is UP.

    It’s kind of funny (if it weren’t so pathetic) that years ago people smoked everywhere and no one even noticed and now you it seems you can’t smoke anywhere and they’re claiming to drop dead from the smell of smoke on someone’s clothes. From the same wonderful society that brought us the Salem witch hunts….

    PS. Japan has the world’s longest life expectancy and one of the highest rates of smoking. And yes, they smoke around kids!

  146. mike February 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Reply to “[…] lazy, gullible journalists are nothing new, what does alarm is the willingness of some medical professionals to adopt this latest ‘little white lie’ […]”

    WT*%&^? You’re kidding with this right? Let me spare you the suspense. stopped being “alarmed” at the faux science and witch-doctor-paradigms that some “modern day medical professionals” adopt. Exactly how much research have you done on risks/statistics proven results and the fuzzy math “they” use to push vaccines now-a-days? In NJ, where we have the highest number of “required” vaccines, they have “mandated” the flu shot (…wha? That’s right. The friggin unproven, moving target and donkey-tail-pinning science of the Flu shot…). I know 4 ppl personally who got the flu this year, and GOT the great-health-promising flu shot. LOL. Or, wait, wait! How about the doctor that told a family member or mine, who had found a lump in his neck — that he had “halitosis” and allergies (… he was, months later, diagnosed with thyroid cancer)… Or wait, what about the my dentist that told me a few years ago that I should dose my preschooler with a STRAIGHT FLUORIDE COCKTAIL (prescription) because she didn’t get fluoride (poison) induced tap water… Now, the first warning I always find on any fluoride product is the one that says — “Do not ingest”. eh, ah, wha? ugh. Now, I could keep going, but suffice to say: Be careful of some “medical professionals” —- Frankly, they’re quacks. Don’t be enamored by White Coats and stethoscopes… they don’t provide proof of anything, esp. that they know what they’re talking about…. LOL

  147. Jim March 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    my son got lung cancer from the second hand smoke. My wife really only smokes outside, and it can come in through the vents and the windows, the cracks. it can slowly leak through the walls, trust me. I got to tell you lady you wait untill you hear the doctor tell you that you will be outliving your son. It won’t be so ridicusouse anymore


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