You avoid smoking because you know and understand its dangers — but how about secondhand smoke? Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause cancer, asthma, and other severe health problems. Learn more about secondhand smoke, and find ways to protect yourself and your family from secondhand smoke in your home.
What’s in secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke — includes mainstream smoke (or the smoke exhaled by smokers) and sidestream smoke (or the smoke that directly comes from a burning tobacco). Secondhand smoke has thousands of deadly chemicals, including ammonia, butane, carbon monoxide, chromium, cyanide, formaldehyde, lead, and polonium.
The toxic compounds in secondhand smoke can stay in the air for a few hours or even much longer. But it’s not just the smoke that is a concern. Some of the chemical residues that stick on the smoker’s hair and clothes, as well as the carpeting, cushions, curtains, and other items in your home — sometimes this is referred to as the third hand smoke. It also poses risks, particularly to children.
How to avoid secondhand smoke in your home?
Step #1: Make a no-smoking-inside-the-house policy. Make it clear to anyone smoking in the family not to smoke inside the house. This also goes with your guests. Ask them to smoke somewhere else outside the house or you can designate a smoking area.
Step #2: Designate a smoking area. If it cannot be avoided, designate an area away from the living room, kitchen, or the kid’s room, or anywhere where the children often stay. You can have the garden, the backyard or the porch for a smoking area.
Step #3: Make it inconvenient to smoke inside the house. If you cannot directly confront a family smoker, you can make it inconvenient for him or her to smoke inside the house. Remove the ashtrays, or hide the lighters and the packs of cigarettes. Your family may not like it at first but he or she can pick the message sooner or later.
Step #4: Clean the house. It lingers on sofa, curtains, and anywhere inside the house. You may want to replace the curtains, clean the cushions, wash the carpeting, etc. You may also want to remove the cigarette butts outside the house. This way, you can lessen the exposure of you children to third hand smoke.
Step #5: Encourage a family smoker to quit. Look for a long term solution to your problem. Encourage your husband, wife, or parents to quit smoking. But when doing so, you don’t nag. It might just further encourage them to hold on the habit. You may want to educate them of the negative effects of smoking to their health and to the people around them. You can also refer them to a quit smoking organization. It might be easier for them to quit if they can get a professional help.
It is the right of every individual to live safe and healthy. Keeping your home smoke free ensures that your children is safe from the harmful effect of the deadly chemicals found in cigarette smoke.