Health Effects of Passive Smoking
What is passive smoking?
Smoking is the cause of a number of diseases. Many of these include lung, kidney, liver and stomach cancers and heart problems such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and high cholesterol.
Passive smoking is when a person inhales the smoke of others. It is also known as second-hand smoke and is the biggest source of air pollution. Not only does it smell awful, the chemicals in passive smoking affect your health and can cause cancer and heart disease. The smoke contains many chemicals that can stay in the body for a long time. Nevertheless, the second-hand smoke inhaled by non-smokers won’t affect the person as much as the smoker himself, but still has the potential to ruin health.
However, evidence since the past 20 years has proved that other peoples smoke can affect a non-smoker and is a major hazard to their own health. Studies have shown that passive smoking is the third leading cause of preventable death in the US and was preceded by active smoking and alcohol.
A surprising number of people die every year due to passive smoking. Several hundred of those deaths occur from passive smoking at home while a few thousand deaths would usually occur in both work and public environments. However, since the ban took place in countries around the world, reports of heart attacks and cancers have decreased substantially and are continuing to fall every year. Let us have a look at the health risks that passive smoking presents.
1) Effect of Passive Smoking on Children and the Newborn
If you’re a smoker and you’re pregnant, it is recommended that you stop smoking. A better idea would be to quit smoking before you decide to get pregnant. You don’t want your baby to get any sort of contact to your smoke or it can be very harmful with birth defects like low birth weight, cleft lip and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Passive smoking affects children the most out of everyone in the family. This is because children are associated with the smoke for many hours and are forced to damage their health unknowingly. Only 30 minutes of exposure to passive smoke can reduce the flow of blood so you can imagine the deadly effects if children are being exposed to smoke all day. Best advice for parents is to stop smoking at all or stop smoking in the home where children are at risk. Children’s body organs are in development during their childhood period. Having them constantly breathe in polluted air will damage the development of the lungs and brain. Other health problems that children will find hard to tolerate are diseases such as bronchitis, sinusitis, chronic respiratory diseases and pneumonia. Most children also suffer ear infections. Inhaled smoke bothers the Eustachian tube that connects the back of the nose to the middle ear. For a young child, the pain will be unbearable and would need treatment very quick before the hearing is permanently damaged.
Other harmful effects to children include:
• Eye irritations
• Sore throats
• Difficult breathing especially for those who suffer asthma
There are more health effects and dangers you need to know. For more information, please visit ‘harmful effects of smoking’. You might also want to quit smoking before your life is at risk. For tips on how to quit smoking, please visit ‘how to quit smoking’.
Passive smoking has several harms that parents, non-smokers and regular smokers need to be aware of. Short exposures can add up in the long term and eventually cause lung cancer and heart disease. Parents and smokers should keep away from children and other people when they smoke and non-smokers should stay away from environments where smoking has been taking place.