Need yet another reason to kick the cigarette habit? If you can't do it for yourself, do it for your kids.

I think we're all aware by now of how dangerous cigarettes are to those who smoke them. And if you think just smoking one (or two, or three) a day is safe, you're wrong. The U.S. Surgeon General released a report last month stating that even one cigarette — even one — is bad for your health.

Even worse, that cigarette can wreak havoc on the health of your kids — causing breathing problems and ear infections, affecting kids' grades, and even damaging their mental health. A new study conducted at the University of Heidelberg in Germany puts a nail in the coffin, so to speak, on the evidence that secondhand smoke exposure is harmful to kids.

According to the study, secondhand smoke exposure significantly increases the risk of high blood pressure among preschool children, even when the researchers adjusted for other hypertension risk factors such as age and weight. And since health experts have found that blood pressure in childhood determines blood pressure in the adult years, exposure to cigarette smoke could set kids up for a lifetime of chronic disease.

A lifetime of disease? That's just not cool.

I know it's hard to quit — honestly, I know. I smoked a pack a day for 10 years before I quit cold turkey 13 years ago. The stuff is rubbish. You know your smoking will kill you, and now you know that your smoking is likely to kill your kids.

Ready to give it up?

Make an appointment with your doctor to see what smoking cessation aids are available and check out smoke free websites like for help.

Cigarette exposure gives kids high blood pressure
Study finds exposure to second hand smoke sets kids up for lifetime of hypertension.