5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Secondhand Smoke

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in side effects

The 3 Week Diet

Even if you don’t smoke, you are not 100% free from the dangers of tobacco use. Smoking is rampant. You see smokers everywhere – in the workplace, at school, at the restaurant, in public areas, and sometimes, even in your home. According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, 40 of which are carcinogenic. Frequent exposure to it can increase your risk of developing various illnesses, ranging from asthma and other respiratory diseases to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and cancer.

You may not avoid secondhand smoke completely but there are ways to reduce your exposure to it. Consider the following suggestions:

Choose places where smoking is prohibited. If you are dining out, choose the restaurant where smoking is strictly prohibited. When checking in to a hotel, choose the one which doesn’t tolerate smokers. You can’t tell every smoker to stop as you may not have control over their behavior. But, you can certainly choose not to be with them.

Be clear with your rules. Your house is the place where you can be clear with your non-smoking policies. Post reminders and no-smoking signs on your wall or doors if you want to. This way, you won’t have to explicitly tell your guests to not smoke. If you have visitors, let them know that you don’t tolerate smoking at home.



Get your mask ready. If you are going to places where smoking is allowed, it can be helpful if you will have an emergency escape mask at hand. If you have a health condition that can be aggravated by secondhand smoke, bringing something like this anywhere with you is really helpful.

Encourage someone to quit. If someone in your home smokes, or a friend of you does, encourage them to quit. Maybe you can talk about the health consequences of smoking and make them realize that tobacco use can greatly affect their quality of life and health. If you succeed, that’s one less smoker in the world.

Stay healthy. Drink tea, take vitamins, eat right, and exercise regularly. Interact with nature. Breathe fresh air. Give time for relaxation. By living a healthy lifestyle, you are improving your immune system, which in turn protects you from the debilitating effects of secondhand smoke.


Secondhand smoke has been widely linked to a wide range of diseases, including the dreaded cancer. And with the thousands of smokers out there, it can be really difficult to avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke. Fortunately, there are things you can do to guard yourself from its debilitating effects. These include choosing places where smoking is prohibited, not allowing others to light up in your house, bringing an emergency mask with you anywhere you go, encouraging someone to quit, and keeping yourself healthy. With all these tips, you can lower your chances of contracting a disease due to exposure to secondhand smoke.


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