Second Hand Smoking

Second hand smoking is the other leading cause of lung cancer; after those who actually smoke. It is said that those who breathe in the smoke of those doing it around them can be even more dangerous. There are two types of second hand - sidestream smoke and mainstream smoke. Sidestream smoke comes from the end of the lighted pipe, cigarette or cigar. Mainstream smoke comes from the exhale of the smoker. If you are a non-smoker and you are exposed to second hand smoke, it is called involuntary or passive smoking. Due to health issues it causes, many restaurants and other buildings in local places have banned people from lighting their cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

Passive Smoking is Dangerous

Involuntary and passive smoking is classified as a "known human carcinogen" or cancer causing agent. This was classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, along with the US National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a branch of the World Health Organization. There is an estimated 35,000 deaths caused by heart disease generated from second hand smoking. These are people that actually lived with the smoker.

Another 3,400 non-smoking adults, with lung cancer, deaths were reported. Other breathing problems, such as coughing, mucus, chest discomfort and lung function reduction is also caused by second hand smoke. Bronchitis and lung infections can generate in children younger than 18 months of age, which have caused 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations. Asthma attacks have also increased substantially due to being around people who smoke (200,000 to 1 million children). Middle ear infections have been caused in more than 750,000 children.

Pregnant women already know that they shouldn't smoke during pregnancy, but they should also know that being around smokers is also a no-no. This too can increase the health risks of the unborn child; such as low birth weight and premature birth. The chemicals in tobacco can also be found in breast milk, since it reaches breast tissue in women. Breast cancer risks are still being debated, so far it has shown up in mostly active smokers.

Reasons to keep your children and yourself away from second hand smoking:

    It causes premature death and disease in children and adults
    Children who are exposed to it are at risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), acute respiratory and ear infections and severe asthma.
    It immediately has an effect on the heart and blood circulation, which can develop into heart disease and lung cancer.
    There is no safe level of second hand smoke. It is best to avoid it as much as possible.

Although there is tobacco control being conducted, people are still being exposed at home and in the work place. It is important for non-smokers and smokers to be separated. Many regulations prohibit smokers from smoking inside and other places prohibit it from occurring outside their building as well. It is important that children be kept away from smokers at all times to prevent premature death, diseases and other health risks.