woman getting second hand smoke from guy smoking a cigaretteQuestion: I’ve quit smoking, but my boyfriend still goes through two packs a day, and a few of our friends smoke like chimneys. Will this harm my baby?

: Smoking doesn’t just affect the smoker, but it also affects everyone around him (including a developing fetus whose mother happens to be nearby). So if anyone around you smokes, your baby’s body is going to pick up nearly as much contamination from tobacco smoke by-products as if you were lighting up.

If your boyfriend says he can’t quit, ask him to at least do all his smoking out of the house. Quitting, of course, would be best, not just for his own health but for your baby’s long-term well-being. Parental smoking (mother’s or father’s) increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in infancy, of respiratory problems at all ages, and damage to the lungs even into adulthood. It also increases the chances that the children themselves will become smokers one day.

You probably won’t be able to get your friends to kick the habit, but you may be able to get them to cut back on smoking around you. Try delicate persuasion: show them the info in this blog post on the dangers of tobacco smoke to a fetus.