Healthy Living

The Many Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

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There have been many studies on the problems caused by secondhand smoke, that which is caused by burning cigarettes which are exhaled by the person smoking. Tobacco contains many harmful substances, especially that which is exhaled. It is possible that people that are exposed to secondhand smoke can develop smoking-related disorders as a result of constant exposure to this material.


What exactly is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke is simply a mixture of the smoke from cigarettes and the exhalation of the person smoking. There are actually 2 kinds; there is the sidestream smoke which will come out of the cigarette or cigar, and main-stream smoke which is from the lungs of the person smoking. It is the smoke that burns on the and of a cigar or cigarette which does contain more harmful substances than the smoke which is inhaled by the smoker simply because there is no filter involved.


How does secondhand smoke affect people who do not smoke?

If you are a non-smoker, and you are consistently exposed to secondhand smoke, your body is going to get nicotine into your system plus all of the other harmful substances. This type of smoke actually contains 4000 chemical compounds, over 200 of which are toxic, and 50 of them can cause cancer. These are very dangerous substances which can linger in the air for as long as four hours, and anyone breathing these particulates can be harmed.


What can happen when exposed to secondhand smoke?

Five minutes this can actually cause the stiffening of the aorta. Half an hour” this can cause blood clotting, plus build up fat deposits within your blood vessels, leading to the potential of strokes and heart attacks.

2 hours – you could develop an arrhythmia which is a irregular heartbeat and it could lead to a heart attack or other fatal cardiac event.

In addition to all of this, the more that you are around this type of smoke, the higher the possibility that these harmful substances will remain in your body. This may cause you to develop smoking-related disorders which will include:

  • Lung disease and lung cancer, emphysema, COPD, chronic bronchitis, and asthma. If a non-smoker lives with a smoker, they have a 30% chance of developing lung cancer.
  • Heart disease
  • Nasal and eye irritations; increased risk of respiratory infections and sinus infections

The Many Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

Who exactly is at the greatest risk of being harmed by this type of smoke?


The person that spends a lot of time with people that smoke will often have smoking-related illnesses develop, and many people are susceptible to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. This would include:


People that work in the service industry, such as restaurant servers or bartenders. People that absorb these carcinogens, as well as the other harmful substances, are at risk. They will have the potentiality of developing some of the health issues that have already been mentioned.


Women that are pregnant. It is well-known that secondhand smoke can affect a mother to be, and also her unborn child. If this occurs during the pregnancy, the placenta previa, as well as a miscarriage or stillbirth can occur. The reason that this happens is that the amount of oxygen that is available to the baby decreases, and the heart rate of the baby will increase, triggering the possibility of a premature birth.


Children, infants and pets can be affected. Both animals and children cannot leave an area where people are smoking, and therefore their health will be at risk. Infants that play where secondhand smoke is constantly being produced can develop these conditions:


  • Respiratory infections and frequent colds (that could include pneumonia and bronchitis)
  • Incomplete lung growth, or the slow development of their lungs.
  • Chronic coughing and asthma.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • The development of high blood pressure.
  • Behavioral and learning problems which may include aggression and inattention.
  • Exceptionally poor dental health.
  • Likelihood of developing a need to smoke later on in life.
  • Increase probability of developing cancer and tumors which can Show up and not only humans but also animals.


What can be done to avoid secondhand smoke?

Here are just a few suggestions that you should consider for eliminating, or at least reducing, your family’s exposure to any secondhand smoke at all:

If you have visitors that come over, they should be told to smoke outside and also use some type of special shirt or coach that can be worn while they are smoking to prevent toxins from bringing in what many people refer to as thirdhand smoke.

  • Make sure that the windows are open to provide proper ventilation.
  • Do not have any ashtrays inside of your house.
  • You must tell caregivers and babysitters to never smoke around children, even if it is their home where the children are being watched.
  • Make sure that, if you are visiting a smoker, you keep your kids outside if they want to socialise.
  • If your work does allow you to smoke, talk to your employer about modifying any type of smoking policy that you have. You need to also encourage them to get their employees to quit!
  • You can switch to e cigarettes, as there is no secondhand smoke.
  • You should tell your boss that you would prefer working near people that are non-smokers.
  • If you are going to stay at a hotel, always get a non-smoking room.
  • Always be informed about local, state and federal smoking laws, and try to become involved the possible in making sure that they become more instrumental in helping people quit smoking.

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