Smoking is not only harmful to yourself but also affects those around you, especially your loved ones. When you quit, not only you but they too benefit from your decision.
The main way smoking affects non-smokers is through secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is a combination of smoke that comes from your cigarette and smoke that you breathe out while smoking. When someone breathes in this secondhand smoke, it is referred to as passive smoking.
What Are The Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke?
Breathing in secondhand smoke over time can cause a number of health problems for non-smokers. They are more likely to have:
- Heart disease
- Breathing problems
- A harder time getting pregnant
- Colds and flu
- Irritated eyes, nose, and throat
Pregnant Women and Children
Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for pregnant women, babies, and children.Pregnant women who breathe in secondhand smoke over time are more likely to:
- Lose their babies
- Give birth to smaller babies
- Have their babies die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Have babies who are cranky‚ restless‚ and get sick more often
- Have babies with learning problems
Children who breathe in secondhand smoke over time are more likely to have:
- More severe asthma attacks
- Bronchitis, pneumonia, and other breathing problems
- Coughing and wheezing
- Ear and lung infections
The Effects of Passive Smoking
Most people are educated at a young age on the effects and dangers of secondhand smoke. However, we shall take an in-depth look at exactly how damaging it really is.
- Non-smokers exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke increase their risk of lung cancer.
- Non-smokers who live with the second-hand smoke of a smoker increase their risk of lung cancer by 20-30%.
- Passive smoking can cause premature death in non-smokers.
- There is no known safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Second-hand tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and 69 are known to cause cancer.
- Passive smoking substantially increases a person’s risk of getting coronary heart disease.
Why is Passive Smoking so Dangerous?
You may ask how the risks of passive smoking seem so excessive given that a non-smoker doesn’t breathe in anywhere near as much tobacco smoke as a smoker.
Although the reasons are not well understood, there are some interesting clues. These clues come from studying the smoke when a cigarette is burnt. What some evidence shows is that:
- Smoke that burns off the end of a cigarette (sidestream smoke) may be more toxic than the mainstream smoke a smoker would inhale.
- Sidestream smoke may become more toxic as it goes from being fresh to aged.