Today is World No Tobacco Day. Every year, on this day the World Health Organisation (WHO) highlights the health and other risks associated with tobacco use and advocates effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. This year, the World No Tobacco theme is 'Tobacco and heart disease'. So, in this article, we will be discussing why passive smoking is dangerous.
Smoking claims the lives of over seven million people each year and of those around 900,000 non-smokers die each year, because they are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
In a public place, where people are smoking tobacco and the non-smokers who are inhaling the smoke can potentially affect them as well.
What Is Passive Smoking?
Passive smoking, also called second-hand smoking, is the process through which people who are usually non-smokers can have lung cancer, coughing and wheezing, asthma, sore throats and colds, eye irritation, and hoarseness.
Passive smoking can increase a non-smoker's risk of getting a lung cancer by a quarter, and may also increase the risk of cancers of the larynx and pharynx.
Why Is Passive Smoking Dangerous?
Second-hand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). It is a mixture of two forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco which is mainstream smoke, the smoke exhaled by a smoker and sidestream smoke, the smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, cigar, or tobacco burning in a hookah.
Sidestream smoke has a higher concentration of carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) and is more toxic than mainstream smoke and also has smaller particles than mainstream smoke.
These smaller particles can easily make their way into the lungs and the body's cells. Sidestream smoke has at least 3 times as much carbon monoxide, 10 to 30 times more nitrosamines, and between 15 and 300 times more ammonia.
When non-smokers are exposed to second-hand smoke it is called involuntary smoking or passive smoking. The more second-hand smoke you breathe, the higher the levels of these harmful chemicals go inside your body.
What Are The Dangers Of Passive Smoking?
Second-hand smoke or passive smoking has more than 7,000 chemicals, including 70 that can cause cancer, especially lung cancer. It leads to other cancers too, such as larynx, pharynx, brain, bladder, nasal sinuses, rectum, stomach, and breast.
Passive smoking can be dangerous in many ways as it affects the heart and blood vessels causing heart attack and stroke in non-smokers. Noted studies have shown that second-hand smoke is linked to mental and emotional changes.
As second-hand smoke stays in the air for several hours after somebody smokes, breathing this air for even a short time can be harmful to your body.
Dangers Of Passive Smoking In Children
The health risk of second-hand smoke is much worse in children. It could lead to liver cancer, brain tumors, leukemia, and lymphoma. Children can also suffer from a chronic cough, wheezing, ear infections, and other respiratory symptoms.
Second-hand smoke causes an increased risk of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer in wives of smokers.
Second-hand smoke can also trigger asthma attacks in children and can even worsen the symptoms of asthma. It can also lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
How Can You Avoid Passive Smoking?
The best sure-shot way to avoid passive smoking is to protect your family from second-hand smoke. Limit your exposure to second-hand smoke in your home and car and in any public places.
Follow these rules to avoid passive smoking:
- Reduce the amount of second-hand smoke your family breathes in.
- Either quit smoking or avoid smoking in public places.
- Avoid smoking in the car.
- Eat at smoke-free restaurants and eateries.
- Avoid indoor places that allow smoking and teach your children to stay away from second-hand smoke.
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