Facts about Secondhand Smoking

There are many facts and figures related to smoking and smokers, however environmental tobacco smoke, better known as secondhand smoking may be as dangerous. The article below is dedicated to the issues of secondhand smoke.

Whereas facts about smoking are well-known, facts related to the problem of secondhand smoke are less wide-spread. At the same time, health risks caused by secondhand smoke are generally as numerous as those related to direct tobacco consumption.

Passive Smoking

What is Passive Smoking?

Passive or secondhand smoking refers to the inhalation of tobacco smoke, either emitted by a smoker, or by the burning of a tobacco product. In this meaning, second-hand smoke represents as much health risks to the non-smokers, as tobacco smoking represents to the smokers.

And though the health risks associated with smoking became known several decades ago, leading to the reduction of smokers’ rates in the developed countries, the reality about secondhand smoking emerged only in recent years. Yet, one fact is evident: passive smoking can cause a considerable impact on health.

Main Facts about Passive Smoking

The Australian Health Department has recently presented a report over environmental tobacco smoke, its risks and morbidity associated with it. According to the report, a child of smoking parents annually may inhale as much tobacco smoke, as if smoking almost 100 cigarettes.

Among other major risks of passive smoking, the Australian Health Department provides the data, which shows that in 1998 128 residents of Australia passed away due to the effects of passive smoking, while the medical condition of about 2000 Australians required hospitalization and further treatment.

Environmental tobacco smoke cannot be classified as belonging to certain places, since people are exposed to secondhand smoke everywhere, where public smoking has not been prohibited yet. It means that exposure to passive smoking in such places as household and vehicle presents increased health risk as well.

Passive Smoking Risks

Passive smoking triggers health complications in both smokers and non-smokers. This is a proven fact, however, are there health risks directly associated with passive smoking?

Tobacco smoke produced by burning any product containing tobacco encompassed more than 4000 chemicals, according to the research by the American Cancer Institute. These chemicals include cancer-causing agents, arsenic, vinyl chloride and even substances used in manufacture of plastics. No matter if you smoke, or are exposed to passive smoke, you inhale these chemicals, and thus, are exposed to the health risks of passive smoking.

In addition, there is no safe level of passive smoking, exposure to which presents an increased likelihood of developing the following health complications:

  • Lung and throat cancers

  • Heart diseases

  • Emphysema and asthma

Minors and Second-hand smoking

While passive smoking presents a health risks for people of all age groups, the effect of secondhand smoke is the most considerable for children, since it results in an increased likelihood of such severe health complications as:

  • Low birth weight

  • Severe birth defects

  • Asthma

  • Bronchitis and pneumonia

  • Ear infections

In addition, children exposed to smoking when they are in the womb are two times more likely to be at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Thus, if you choose to smoke, do that when you are alone, in order to avoid putting other people at risk.