Passive smoking means breathing in the smoke of other people’s cigarettes. Tobacco smoke contains around 7,000 chemicals, made up of particles and gases, over 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Compounds such as ammonia, Sulphur, and formaldehyde irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. These compounds are especially harmful to people with respiratory conditions such as bronchitis or asthma.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies smoking as a chronic, progressive disease which is also contagious. Existing studies suggest that passive smoking and active smoking might equally increase the risk of certain conditions, such as female breast cancer, allergic rhinitis, allergic dermatitis, and food allergy, mainly tumors.
A person who smokes heavily indoors creates a smoke cloud that other households have no other option but to breath in. Children are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of passive smoke. Some of the many health risks include:
- Fatal sleep accidents
- A child who lives in a smoking household for the first 18 months of their life has an increased risk of developing a range of respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia. They are also prone to getting colds, coughs, and glue ear (middle ear infections).
- Such a child is more likely to develop asthma symptoms, meningococcal (bacterial) disease, which can sometimes cause death or disability.
Australian data indicates that about 10 percent of women smoke during pregnancy. Both smoking and passive smoking can seriously affect the developing fetus. Women who smoke are at significant risk of ectopic pregnancy in which embryo implants outside the uterus. Health risks for mother who smoke during pregnancy include increased risk of:
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
- Sudden unexpected death in infants (SUDI), which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleep accidents
- A non-smoking pregnant woman is more likely to give birth earlier and to a baby, with a slightly lower birth weight if she is exposed to passive smoke in the home, for example, if her partner smokes.
Consider watching this video to know more about how to quit smoking….
People who have never smoked themselves but live with people who do smoke are at increased risk of a range of tobacco-related diseases and other health risks, including:
- Passive smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. There is consistent evidence that people who do not smoke, who live in a smoky household have higher chances of coronary heart disease and stroke than those who do not.
- Passive smoking makes the blood more sticky and likely to clot, thereby leading to an increased risk of various health conditions such as stroke, thromboembolism, heart attack.
- There is evidence that passive smoking is associated with lower levels of antioxidant vitamins in the blood.
- There is increasing evidence that passive smoking can increase the risk of nasal sinus cancer, throat cancer, larynx cancer, breast cancer. Moreover, it can cause long and short-term respiratory symptoms, loss of lung function, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in people who do not smoke.
Cigarette smoke is also hazardous to the environment itself, causing pollution by releasing toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. They pollute an environment as much as they pollute a human body. The remains of chemicals in the air seep into soils and waterways, causing land and water pollution, respectively. It is also the source of deforestation, air pollution through industrial production process and farming, contamination with cigarette butts, generation of a massive amount of toxic waste, forest fire, etc.
Thus, cigarette smoke is equally harmful to the environment as much as they are for the human body and health.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!