Second Hand Smoke


It is well known that active smokers are at risk of developing severe health problems, such as heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions. Those who are non-smokers and are around people who smoke, they too are at risk of developing chronic illnesses. Children especially should be kept away from smokers. Children less than 18 months are at risk of developing bronchitis and asthma; sometimes death may occur if too much cigarette smoke is inhaled. There are two types of second hand smoke; sidestream and mainstream smoke. Sidestream is when the smoke comes from the end of the lit cigarette, pipe or cigar. Mainstream is when it comes from the exhaling smoker.

Second Hand Smoke Causes Cancer, Too


Secondhand smoke is classified as known human carcinogen or cancer causing agent by the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency). Because of this, many public venues have banned smoking and laws have been created to stop smoking in public places. Cigarette smoke is very hazardous to everyone's health. There are even records of deaths and health conditions reported by many Americans who were exposed to secondhand smoking. There is an estimated 35,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers, 3,400 non-smokers died of lung cancer; many others developed breathing problems including coughing, wheezing, mucus, chest discomfort and reduced lung function; 150,000 to 300,000 lung infections like pneumonia and bronchitis in children under 18 months were hospitalized (7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations; 200,000 to 1 million children developed asthma attacks; and over 750,000 children developed middle ear infections. These were all caused by secondhand smoking.

Also at risk are pregnant women. When exposed to smoking from secondhand, there are increased risks of premature births and having babies with low birth weight. When the smoke is inhaled, the chemicals travel to the breast tissue. This increases chances of developing breast cancer sue to exposure of 20 chemicals that cigarettes contain. Mainstream and sidestream smoking can cause this. Since these chemicals reach the breast tissue, the chemicals can be transferred through breast milk and to the infant during feeding. Studies show that active smokers are much more at risk of developing cancerous growths in their breasts. A report was given from the California Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 concluding that there was evidence of consistent breast cancer development in younger, pre-menopausal women.

In the 2006 Surgeon General's report concluded that secondhand smoking causes:

    Early death in infants and disease in adults and children.
    Increases risks of sudden infant death syndrome (also known as SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems and severe asthma in children.
    Immediate effects in the heart and blood circulation in harmful ways, causing lung cancer and heart disease.

The report also shows that there are no safe levels of exposure to cigarette smoking. Although there are various bans of smoking, adults and children are still exposed at home and in the work place. The only way non-smokers can be fully protected is if all indoor smoking is prevented. The separation of smokers and non-smokers is highly essential to keeping them safe.