Anti-Tobacco Day: 5 Ways How Second-Hand Smoking Can Be Dangerous – Expert Speaks!


Passive or passive smoking is dangerous in itself. An expert reveals how this can affect your body.

Anti-Smoking Day: Five ways passive smoking can be dangerous: an expert speaks! (Freepik)

Smoking is a deadly activity that can lead to lung cancer and other deadly diseases as well. But if you don’t smoke but are around people or a crowd where people smoke, this can also cause potential health risks. Tobacco use remains a major global health problem, contributing to 229.8 million disability-adjusted life years and 8.7 million deaths in 2019 alone. Not only does it directly affect smokers, but it also poses considerable risks to those who do not actively smoke.

What is second smoking? secondhand smoke (SHS), also known as passive smoking, is the involuntary inhalation of smoke from the burning of tobacco products by non-smokers. India.com contacted Dr. Prasad S. Adusumilli, MD, FACS, Thoracic Surgeon and Cellular Therapist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who explained how dangerous passive smoking is. Despite efforts to reduce global smoking rates, around 37% of the world’s population is still exposed to second-hand smoke, and women and children are disproportionately affected. Even non-smokers can test positive for nicotine, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde in body fluids due to exposure, and prolonged exposure increases the risk of inhaling these toxins.

5 health risks of passive smoking

  1. Cancer risk: The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 69 are known carcinogens and more than 250 other harmful substances. .
  2. Child cancer: Children exposed to second-hand smoke may be at increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma, leukemia, and brain tumors. Exposure during pregnancy could potentially contribute to these risks.
  3. Respiratory problems:Secondhand smoke can cause chronic lung problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma in adults. Children are particularly vulnerable and experience frequent coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing and more severe asthma attacks.
  4. Cardiovascular disease: Exposure to secondhand smoke significantly increases the risk of high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes. Regular exposure increases the likelihood of developing heart disease by up to 30%. Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of having low birthweight babies, which may have long-term health implications.
  5. Infections and chronic conditions in children: Children and babies exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from frequent ear infections, respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and other chronic conditions. They also have a higher risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
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Passive smoke in various environments

Second-hand smoke poses significant health risks in various settings and especially affects vulnerable populations such as children. In homes and apartments, second-hand smoke can infiltrate through vents and cracks, causing respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Public spaces, including parks, beaches, and outdoor dining areas, are not immune to the dangers of second-hand smoke, as non-smokers can inhale harmful chemicals even in outdoor settings. Additionally, confined spaces such as cars and public transportation vehicles exacerbate second-hand smoke risks, exposing passengers, including children and non-smoking adults, to toxic chemicals that linger in the air and on surfaces.

The WHO estimates that annually 1.2 million premature deaths worldwide are related to secondhand smoke, affecting both adults and children. The only way to mitigate these risks is to completely avoid tobacco smoke. Implementing smoke-free policies and promoting smoke-free environments can minimize exposure to secondhand smoke, promoting healthier communities.



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