Secondhand smoke is a cocktail of harmful gases and particles that may include the smoke from the burning tobacco (cigar, pipe, or cigarette), the exhaled smoke, and more than 4000 toxic chemicals (more than 1% of which are cancerous).
Exposure to secondhand smoke happens most of the times at homes and workplaces. You also encounter this in public places bars, casinos, some restaurants, in vehicles, etc. Being around secondhand smoke is harmful to your health.
When a person smokes, most of the smoke is left in the air which exposes anyone nearby to the toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
Understanding Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke comes from cigar, cigarette, or pipe. You know that tobacco smoke has about more than 4,000 chemical compounds in it, and at least 60 of which are known to cause cancer. And once these chemicals come into contact with other gases in your lungs, it further results to chemical reactions creating new compounds, even more potent than the previous compounds. And when exhaled, this new concoction of smoke is more harmful.
Secondhand smoke increases your risk of cancer and heart disease by 20 or 30 percent. In the US, secondhand smoke causes more than 30, 000 deaths from cardiovascular disease alone, and more than 7, 000 deaths from lung cancer.
Tobacco smoke can cause your blood to be stickier, increases your “bad” cholesterol, and harms your blood vessels. Sooner or later, these changes may lead to a heart attack, and ultimately lead to stroke or even death.
Passive Smoking and Your Children
Children are more particularly at risk to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke since they are still in the growing stage, and they breathe at a faster phase than adults.
Some of the common health conditions linked to passive smoking in children includes:
- SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome;
- Bronchitis, pneumonia, and other respiratory infections;
- Severe and recurring asthma attacks; and
- Chronic Cough.
Women who smoke during their pregnancy is putting their babies at greater health risks. Smoking during pregnancy are linked to low birth weight, premature delivery, SIDS, ADHD, etc. It specifically affects the cognitive development of babies. The more cigarettes you smoke, the greater the risks are.
How to Avoid Passive Smoking
The first thing you can do to avoid passive smoking is to avoid smokers. But if it’s someone in your home, it might require more than your diplomatic skills to keep the cigarette smoke from reaching your lungs.
You can convince your husband or wife, your mom or your dad to quit smoking, or you can try to at least bargain, and convince them to smoke outside the house. Once you have contained the smoke outside the house you have to clean everything inside the house that comes in to contact with cigarette smoke, this includes your curtains, furniture, carpets, etc.
Keeping your home smoke-free is essentially important if you have children and elderly who are living with you. Their bodies are delicate and they can get easily affected by the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.
Smoking has been banned in most public places. But still many people are exposed to the harmful effects of passive smoking, especially children. Quitting smoking now and being advocates of cigarette-free life can help ensure a safer and healthier life for your children.