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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Harmful Substances / Habits >>  Dangers Of Second Hand Smoke

Passive Smoking - Dangers Of Second Hand Smoke

Even if you are not a smoker, you may still be exposed to second hand smoke. That smoky haze in your favorite restaurant, the thick cloud of it in your room after your party guests have left, the smoke that settles when friends or relatives come visiting – all of these affect your health. You and your children are exposed to these health hazards of second hand smoke, which is comparable to actually smoking. While second hand smoke has not claimed as many lives as actual smoking, nevertheless, it has caused the death of many.
What is second hand smoke? Second hand smoke has also been more aptly termed as involuntary smoking, passive smoking, tobacco smoke pollution and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

The two different forms of smoke from cigars, pipes or cigarettes are:

Sidestream smoke – which is let off directly from the burning tobacco
Mainstream smoke – which is exhaled by the smoker.

What are the dangers of second hand smoke? Second hand smoke is considered to be almost as bad as actual smoking. It contains a cocktail of over 4,000 harmful chemical compounds, which are poisonous and carcinogenic. Of these 250 are toxic and more than 60 of them can cause various cancers. These chemicals include cadmium, polonium, benzene, arsenic, formaldehyde, methanol, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide.

Passive smoking has caused cancers of the lung, cervix, bladder and nasal cavities. In addition to this, coronary heart disease, as well as heart attacks, has been linked to passive smoking. Passive smoking can also lead to the narrowing of the carotid arteries - leading to strokes and artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Passive smoking is especially harmful for children and unborn babies. It has been known to cause low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), asthma, coughing, wheezing and other chronic respiratory illnesses, middle ear infections, nose and eye irritation, dental cavities and general irritability.

Tips To Eliminate Second Hand Smoke

What to do? Try and eliminate or reduce second hand smoke in your life, and protect your children from it.
  • First of all, let friends, family and colleagues know that you do not wish to be part of their second hand smoke.
  • Opening the windows or running an air conditioner does not remove the dangerous particles completely. Therefore, you should make your home a smoke-free zone. If you or any of your friend smokes make sure that you go outside and light up. Ask other people such as guests or baby-sitters to do likewise.
  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in your car. If necessary stop for a smoke break, and get out of the car before lighting that cigarette.
  • Teach your children about the dangers of secondhand smoke and to stay far away from it.
  • When choosing care facilities or schools, where your child will spend a lot of time, ensure that they have a no-smoking policy, and the area is smoke-free.
  • There are many bars, restaurants and other establishments which are totally smoke free. Patronize these, and thank the management for the healthy air.
  • The workplace is an area where you may pick up second hand smoke. Even ventilator fans are not effective in removing second hand smoke. Speak to your employer and insist on implementing and enforcing a smoke-free policy, so that non-smokers are spared.
  • On some occasions, when there is no option but to remain in a room with people who are smoking, try and sit closer to a window or a vent to minimize the amount of smoke you inhale.
  • Try and help anyone who is trying to quit smoking.

Submitted on January 16, 2014