Thursday, January 16, 2014

How Second Hand Smoke Can Harm You

Most restaurants, stores, and even entire cities in the US have recently banned smoking in public buildings.  That’s because we now know that you can not only die from smoking cigarettes, but also from breathing in smoke in the air around you.  Second hand smoke, whether from the burning end of the cigarette, or from the smokers mouth, is very toxic and can be a serious hazard to your health.

Here are just a few of the many problems caused by second hand smoke.

its hard keeping this one on one hand and the ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Cigarette smoke contains over 60 chemicals that cause or may cause cancer. Thousands of non-smokers die of lung cancer from second hand smoke every year.
* Some of the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke are: formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chlorine, arsenic ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide.
* Second hand smoke causes heart disease in non-smokers.  These heart disease cases account for tens of thousands of deaths every year. 
* Many non-smokers visit the doctor every year for lung related problems caused by second hand smoke.  These problems range from coughing to a drop in lung functioning.  
* The incidence of breast cancer may be increased by exposure to second hand smoke.

While adults generally have the option or ability to leave an area where someone is smoking, children don’t always have that luxury.  They are also more susceptible to the damage caused by cigarette smoke.  In addition to the above problems here are some of the issues caused by second hand smoke that specifically affect children.

Under the care of second-hand smoke
Under the care of second-hand smoke (Photo credit: JorizDG)
* Second hand smoke causes over 150,000 lower respiratory infections every year, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, in children under the age of 18 months.
* Second hand smoke has been indicated as a cause of many SIDS deaths.
* Second hand smoke significantly increases the severity of asthma attacks in children. 
* Second hand smoke causes many children to develop ear infections.
* Pregnant women exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to have babies with below average birth weights. 

Smoking near your children can not only cause health problems now, it can impair them all the way through to adulthood.  While you should attempt to quit for the sake of your children; if you don’t quit, please smoke outside away from them. 

These are just some of the known problems associated with second hand smoke.  Cigarette companies have known that second hand smoke is dangerous for many years, but hid this information.  It’s disturbing to think what other consequences second hand smoke causes that we haven’t found yet.  Even the shortest amount of exposure to cigarette smoke can have dangerous consequences.

If you are a smoker, please quit or smoke outside in a private area.  If you know someone who smokes near you, convince them to quit or at least not smoke when they’re with you.
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