Whilst most smokers and the population in general accept that cigarettes expose the user to a high risk of many types of cancer, heart disease and COPD, what is often underestimated is the danger of second-hand smoke.

What is Passive Smoking?

First let’s consider what passive smoking is, as the two elements which comprise it might surprise you in terms of the risk associated with them.

There are two distinct types of tobacco smoke. The first is mainstream smoke, and this is what the smoker exhales. The second is sidestream smoke which comes directly from the burning tip of a cigarette. Passive smoking comprises those two smoke types and in fact of the two sidestream smoke is the more toxic, at around 4 times, because it includes many of the chemicals which make cigarettes so deadly.

Is Vaping an Alternative?

Vaping is a good alternative to smoking as it does not produce any tobacco smoke and therefore the risks which arise from passive smoking are negated. The NHS website outlines that at the present time they feel the risks arising from passive vaping are negligible.

Vaping also has the distinct advantage of not producing the unpleasant smell and taste which comes from smoking cigarettes. Eliquids are inhaled instead and as they come in a wide variety of tastes, there is something for everyone. This is not only good for the smoker, but also for those around them, who will no longer be exposed to the taste, smell and ultimately dangerous levels of toxicity which arise from cigarettes.

Why Are Cigarettes so Deadly?

Every time a smoker lights up they are breathing in a mix of over 4,000 chemicals. Around 60 of these chemicals, including lead, arsenic and ammonia, have been shown to be carcinogenic. As these chemicals mix in a smoker’s bloodstream they can cause cancer, heart disease and other lung problems such as COPD.

Passive Smoking Risks

This risk is also passed on to those around the smoker through passive smoking, particularly if they are in confined space such as a vehicle or inside a building.

A non-smoker has a 25% increased risk of lung cancer if they are exposed to second-hand smoke. Alongside that comes an increased risk of stroke, COPD and heart disease, as well as cancers of other parts of the body, particularly the throat and voicebox. Sidestream smoke mentioned earlier has at least 3 times as much carbon monoxide present in it, 10-30 times more nitrosamines and between 15 and 300 times more ammonia.

It is little surprise therefore that globally five million smokers die every year as a result of their habit and around 600,000 people die from passive smoking.

Because children are in the early stages of development, their bodies can be even more susceptible to the risk and they can experience higher levels of asthma, respiratory infections, meningitis and even an increased risk of cot death if they are exposed to second-hand smoke. In 2015, smoking in cars with under-18s was banned and there is even talk of this ban being extended to homes where children are present.

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One Comment

  1. Tony Jewell says:

    Good to start to think of smoke free homes where children live because of second hand smoke. Child protection issues should take preference over an adults rights. Smoking parent should stop or go outside!

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