Passive Smoking: The Familiar Enemy

Passive Smoking

It is not enough to just say, “I don’t smoke”. Do you know you can also pose a health risk to your self by mingling with people that do? Here are some things you need to know!

WHAT IS PASSIVE SMOKING?

This is also called secondhand smoking. It is the breathing in of the side-stream smoke from the burning of tobacco between puffs or the inhalation of the mainstream smoke. Simply put, as the name implies, it’s breathing in the smoke from someone else’s cigar, cigarette, or other tobacco product.

HOW CAN YOU BE EXPOSED?

Secondhand smoke can be inhaled accidentally when you are near sources of tobacco smoke. For example, in public places, parties, bars, restaurants, and even in homes.

People sitting next to a person exhaling smoke through their nostrils

WHAT MAKES IT HARMFUL

Secondhand smoke contains more, smaller particles and is therefore more likely to be deposited deep in the lungs. Moreover, these particles are made up of over 7,000 harmful chemicals which may be toxic and cancerous to the body.

THE HEALTH BURDEN

This familiar enemy has been confirmed by many leading health authorities to be a cause of lung cancer amongst other life-threatening health conditions in humans. According to a research by the CDC, non smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30%. Research also suggests that secondhand smoke exposure may increase the risk of other cancers by at least 30%.

THE UNTOLD TRUTH

Non smokers may be considered to be at a higher risk of ill health than smokers. Surprised much? It is well known that people who smoke cigarettes are continually damaging their cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels), but you may be shocked to know that this system adapts to compensate for the effects of smoking. However, it’s a different ball game for exposed non smokers, as they do not have this benefit of smoke inhalation adaptation. That is not to say that smokers are spared from the harmful effects of smoking!!!

WHAT PASSIVE SMOKING DOES TO THE BODY

There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing even a little smoke can be dangerous.

Many health problems associated with smoking.

Smoke activates small blood cells called platelets. Platelets are what help you to prevent or stop bleeding when you get injured. However, when exposed to smoke, they form more, unnecessary blood clots that can impede blood circulation throughout the body. This increases chances of getting a heart attack, stroke, and suffering from other health challenges.

Furthermore, it is important to know that passive smoke is harmful to pregnant women as it has disastrous effects on both mother and fetus because it increases the risk for miscarriages, still birth, premature delivery, and restricted growth for the unborn child. Also, the infants and children are not left out, as it has been proven to cause several respiratory illnesses.

A pregnant woman next to someone who smokes
A baby exposed to secondhand smoke

HOW CAN I PREVENT SECONDHAND SMOKE EXPOSURE?

The best way to stay healthy is avoid secondhand smoke by keeping away from areas that allow smoking. You must know that open windows and air filters don’t remove either of the streams, they just reduce some of the toxins. In cases where it may be hard to completely avoid smoke-free areas like bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants, your best bet is to move away to a section where people are not actively smoking.

Thanks for reading! Because we all need to raise awareness of one the most underestimated killers, it would be a pleasure if you can share this piece to a family member, friend, or colleague. If you have any comments, feel free to send them in. I will respond as soon as possible!

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