Second Hand Smoke:
What You Need To Know

second hand smoke

Second hand smoke, also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) or passive smoking, is a serious threat to the health of people around the world.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), American Lung Association, and the World Health Association (WHO) are among numerous entities that proclaim its hazards.

The World Health Organization website states that "exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke causes death, disease, and disability."

According to the American Lung Association website, passive smoking causes approximately 3400 lung cancer deaths, and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult NONSMOKERS in the U.S.

In the EPA publication "Setting the Record Straight: Secondhand Smoke is a Preventable Health Risk", ETS is a known human carcinogen, can also cause cancer in animals, and has the ability to damage DNA.

Effects of Second-Hand Smoke

So what are the possible consequences of exposure to these toxins? Besides the allergic reactions you may have to the smoke, there are numerous other serious problems you may develop due to exposure:

  • Cancer - lung AND breast cancer (ALA,EPA)

  • Respiratory tract infections which may include bronchitis, pneumonia, and COPD

  • Reduced lung function

  • Ear infections (increased fluid build up leads to swelling and infections)

  • Worsens asthma

  • May cause asthma
  • Higher risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) The CA EPA estimates that 1900-2700 children die annually of SIDS due to second hand smoke.

Increased Risks for Children

It is estimated that more than 4000 substances are found in cigarette smoke.

Children are more vulnerable than adults to second hand smoke for these reasons:

* Children have a much faster respiration rate than adults

* Children are dependent on their parents or caregivers for a healthy environment.
Children often cannot "get away" from the toxic exposure, and may not realize the damage it is doing to them.

* SIDS attacks the youngest and most innocent of the human race

Wikipedia Online mentions a possible connection between ETS, Chrohn's disease, and learning difficulties as well as neurological problems. It also states that passive smoking is the 3rd leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

* There is no SAFE level of exposure to second hand smoke.

second hand smoke

If you smoke, please consider getting the support you need to quit. The life you save may be your own - or one of your children's.

If you are a nonsmoker, consider how you can decrease your exposure to passive smoke. Take great care to protect your children from it whenever possible.

All of us can take steps to lessen our exposure to smoke in any form - cigarette, burning fires, and the like.

Let's act on what we know - and make our next inhalation a breath of fresh air.

For more helpful information:

Go from Second Hand Smoke to Allergic Reaction

Allergic Reactions Immune System

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma Triggers

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