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Health Concerns

Smoking and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death in the first year of life.Footnote 1 Although there is no known cause for SIDS, research has identified smoking as one of the major preventable risk factors.Footnote 2

Facts

Infants whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and those exposed to second hand smoke after birth have an increased risk of SIDS.Footnote 2,Footnote 3,Footnote 4

The risk of SIDS increases with the number of smokers in the household, the number of cigarettes smoked and the proximity of the smoker(s) to the infant.Footnote 2,Footnote 3,Footnote 4,Footnote 5

There were 113 deaths from SIDS in Canada in 2007.Footnote 6 Research has shown that, in 2002, nearly one-third of SIDS deaths were due to smoking.Footnote 7

Infant bed sharing increases the risk of SIDS, particularly among infants of mothers who smoke.Footnote 8

This health warning message for cigarettes and little cigars addresses sudden infant death syndrome:

How does smoking increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome?

Some of the chemicals in tobacco smokeFootnote 9,Footnote 10 alter the development of an infant's brain and the lungs. This in turn affects how an infant breathes and may be responsible for SIDS.Footnote 1,Footnote 5

The benefits of quitting

Women refraining from smoking while pregnant will reduce the risk of death among their newborns during the first 7 days.Footnote 2

Raising infants in a smoke-free environment will reduce the risk of SIDS as well as other smoking-related diseases.Footnote 2,Footnote 3,Footnote 4,Footnote 5.

Need help to quit? Call the pan-Canadian quitline toll-free at 1-866-366-3667.

References

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Sawnani H, Olsen E and Simakajomboon N. The Effect of In Utero Cigarette Smoke Exposure on Development of Respiratory Control: A Review. Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology 2010; 23(3):161-6.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2004. Ch.5, p.600. Available from: Next link will take you to another Web site http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/smokingconsequences/index.html.

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Footnote 3

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2006. Ch.5, p. 180-194.

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Footnote 4

DiFranza JR, Aligne CA and Weitzman, M. Prenatal and Postnatal Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Children's Health. 2004; 113(4): 1007-15.

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Footnote 5

Anderson HR, Cook DG. Passive smoking and sudden infant death syndrome: review of the epidemiological evidence. Thorax 1997; 52:1003-1009.

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Footnote 6

Statistics Canada. Table 102-0552 - Deaths and mortality rate, by selected grouped causes and sex, Canada, provinces and territories, annual (2007), CANSIM (database). 2011 [updated 2010 Nov 15; cited 2011 Mar 15]. Available from: Next link will take you to another Web site http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a05?lang=eng&id=1020552.

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Footnote 7

Rehm J, Baliunas D, Brochu S, Fischer B, Gnam W, Patra J, et al. The costs of substance abuse in Canada 2002. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse; 2006

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Footnote 8

Scragg R, Mitchell EA, Taylor BJ, Stewart AW, Ford RPK, Thompson JM D, Allen EM, Becroft DMO on behalf of the New Zealand Cot Death Study Group. Bed sharing, smoking, and alcohol in the sudden infant death syndrome. BMJ 1993; 307: 1312-8.

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Footnote 9

Rodgman, A., Perfetti, T.A. The chemical components of tobacco and tobacco smoke. (2009). CRC press, Florida, USA. ISBN 978-1-4200-7883-1

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Footnote 10

Hecht SS. Research Opportunities Related to Establishing Standards for Tobacco Products Under the FamilySmoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Nicotine & Tobacco Research [http://ntr.oxfordjournals.org/] Commentary [accepted November 25, 2010]. Web Published 2011.

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