In 2015, a photograph of a series of sonograms showing how an unborn child reacts to its mother smoking a cigarette went viral.
The top features a fetus whose mother smokes, while the bottom is of a fetus whose mother doesn't smoke:
According to earlier reports, the scans took place during weeks 24, 28, 32 and 36 of the pregnancy.
The purpose of the study was to show how smoking while pregnant affects a baby still in the womb, but how does smoking affect children outside of the womb?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoking isn't just harmful to kids, but also to adults, and the only way to protect non-smokers from the dangers of cigarette smoke is to avoid it all together.
As the CDC reported:
There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health. Since 1964, approximately 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
And that's exactly why internet users are up in arms over what is believed to be a photo of a mom allegedly pretending to let her young daughter smoke a cigarette for a funny picture to post on Instagram:
The Instagram user wrote:
“Trying Brittnies cig, hahaha. And for everyone getting offended over this she only had one puff of the thing and barely inhaled it. It was for a joke photo.”
The picture which was first posted on Instagram and later Reddit has been viewed over 27,000 times so far and over 1,200 people have commented on the photo voicing their disgust.
Some of the comments read:
“If she is dumb enough to do this, I'm guessing she was dumb enough to smoke while pregnant as well. Poor kid.”
“Well, I mean, that one 'barely' inhalation is probably gonna do a hell of a lot less damage than all the second hand smoke this poor child is likely to come into contact with.”
“Sweet Jesus. Please tell me they've been reported to CPS.”
“This is child abuse.”
“If this is seen as a light joke in the eyes of the mother, I truly don't want to know what else goes on in that household.”
According to the CDC, here are some of the effects secondhand smoking can have on a child:
- Ear infections
- More frequent and severe asthma attacks
- Respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath
- And puts babies at a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome
However, as the Independent pointed out, this photo first appeared back in 2015 after an Instagram user from Valencia, Spain named lapelirrojah_delbarriooh — who was believed to be just 18-years-old —captioned the photo:
“Already smoking at one year old, love you little one, you’re my f****** life.”
And while the photo is a great example of what not to do, it's important to point out that because this photo has been widely circulated on the internet for years, the validity of the photo is unknown.