Unlike any other addictive habit that one may undertake, the dangers of smoking can cause major damage to not only your health but to the health of those around you. Secondhand smoke can carry a deadly poison that can invade the lungs of any person nearby in very drastic ways. If you are a smoker then you should realize just how much of an impact your habit is having on your family and those you love.
According to the American Cancer Society,
Secondhand smoke is also known as environmental tobacco smoke. It is a mixture of two forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco: Sidestream smoke – smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and Mainstream smoke – the smoke exhaled by a smoker.
When we inhale these two very different types of smoke we may assume they are both the same but there are very distinct differences and they each can cause some major health issues all on their own.
Sidestream smoke contains a higher level of carcinogens than mainstream smoke and consists of much smaller particles than the mainstream smoke. This makes it a very deadly toxin because the smaller particles can penetrate much deeper into the lungs and the cells of the body.
Even if you’re not a smoker yourself secondhand smoke exposes you and your lungs to just as many toxins if not more than those of smokers. One reason for this is because while a smoker breaths it all into his lungs, he expels this smoke soon after while the person who is inhaling secondhand smoke cannot expel it again. That smoke remains in his body and begins to cause major health damages.
The Problems Associated With Secondhand Smoke
This known human carcinogen has been classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a public health threat. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals many of which are capable of causing major damage to an individual’s health. These cancer causing agents have been linked directly to lung cancer, childhood leukemia, and cancers of the larynx, pharynx, brain, bladder, rectum, stomach, and breast cancer.
Studies have also shown that when a mother smokes during pregnancy the impact can cause irreparable harm to the child while it is still in the uterus.
Cancer is not the only threat that those exposed to secondhand smoke have to concern themselves with. These harmful toxins have been known to cause abortions and stillborn births when inhaled by some women while pregnant, infants have an increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), acute respiratory infections, and infertility among a detailed list of other health problems.
There is no question that secondhand smoke is a real danger to those unfortunate enough to be near a smoker. While the smoker is making the choice to put his health in harm’s way the one exposed to second hand smoke is unable to make that distinction. According to the Mayo Clinic,
The dangerous particles in secondhand smoke can linger in the air for hours or even longer. It isn’t just the smoke that’s a concern, though. The residue that clings to a smoker’s hair and clothing, as well as cushions, carpeting and other goods – sometimes referred to as third-hand smoke – also can pose risks, especially for children.
This is why many US local and state governments have passed laws that are designed to protect the public from secondhand smoke in public places. However, it is important that you be on the lookout for possible dangers to you and your children as well. Avoiding the risks of secondhand smoke can be a major step in taking control of your health and of those you love.