Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Second-hand Smoking Facts | Effects of Third-hand Smoke

You might very clearly understand that cigarette smoking is very bad for the health (read also some hazards of smoking). But did you know that second-hand and tri-hand smoking also can affect the health?! Second-hand smoke is a term used to describe a situation when we accidentally breathe the cigarette smoke that is resulted from another smoker. It is also familiar called as passive /involuntary smoking! (You may also like to know about quitting smoking timeline!)

And for third-hand smoke, it is often considered to be residual chemicals (like nicotine) left on a variety of objects in the room by tobacco smoke. If there are some common indoor pollutants in the room, there is a chance for this left residue to react with them which then eventually may result a toxic mix. And this new toxic mix can be potential health hazard for anyone who is exposed to it -- particularly for kids!

Second hand smoking facts

The unfriendly chemicals that you inhale

If you breathe the air with cigarette smoke that exhaled from another smoker (mainstream smoke) -- you are also inhaling /breathing almost the same amount of chemical properties that are breathed by smoker.

There are about 4,000 unfriendly chemicals in tobacco smoke, and 50 of them have been known as serious chemical properties that can cause some types of cancer. Some common chemical compounds that are inhaled from second-hand smoke may include:
  1. Carbon Monoxide (CO).
  2. Benzene, which is one of major components that we can find in gasoline.
  3. Formaldehyde!
  4. And hydrogen cyanide! It is a highly poisonous gas that is often used for pest control and even for chemical weapons.
The risk of heart disease

Passive smoking also can affect the health of your heart. Even some studies found that certain health problems associated with the heart may begin to develop only 10 minutes after you get a secondhand smoke exposure. Read also risk factors for heart disease (conditions /factors that increase your risk of developing heart disease)!

The risk of cancer

Lung cancer is usually the top and popular topic when discussing the effects of passive smoking. But there are also other types of cancer that may also develop if you get frequent secondhand smoke exposure. Some of these cancers may include cervical cancer and breast cancer.

Second-hand smoking statistics

According to a published article on WebMD, below are a few helpful statistics:
  1. There are about 126 million people in the U.S who are exposed to secondhand /passive smoke at work & home.
  2. Passive smoking has a contribution to cause about 50,000 deaths in nonsmoking Americans (adults) for every year!
  3. In non-smokers, passive smoking can increase their risk of heart disease by about 25-30 percent and their risk of lung cancer by about 20-30 percent. Furthermore, in non-smokers there are about 3,000 deaths from lung disease /year that are caused by passive smoke exposure. And approximately 46,000 non-smokers (who have a close contact /live with smokers) die from heart disease for every year.
Statistics of secondhand smoke exposure in children and toddlers

Toddles are often affected by passive smoking exposure at home. Then there is about 150,000 - 300,000 kids under 18 months who experience bronchitis, pneumonia, or other respiratory infections from passive smoking exposure -- which about 7,500 - 15,000 of them need to be hospitalized to get more treatments.

Furthermore, there is about 40 percent of kids who visit emergency room due to asthma attacks live with people who are active smokers, -- according to a 2006 surgeon-general’s report!

These statistics suggests that there is no amount of secondhand smoke exposure that is safe! What else you need to know?
  1. Children’s body is still growing, and they tend to breathe at a faster rate than if compared with adults. These are some reasons why they are more vulnerable to the secondhand smoke effects.
  2. Some common health conditions associated with passive smoking exposure in children may include; chronic cough, asthma attacks that can occur more frequently or even in more severe stage, infections associated with ear, and even SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
  3. Pregnant women who smoke is also dangerous, because often associated with more pregnancy complications (such as low birth weight, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), premature delivery, etc). That’s why smoking during pregnancy must be avoided!
Effects of third-hand smoke

As mentioned before, third-hand smoke can create a toxic mix that can be potential health hazard for anyone (non-smoking adults, children, and infants) because it may contain cancer-causing components.

The left residual chemicals from third-hand smoke can cling to some objects in the room (such as carpets, furniture, walls, and bedding), even sometimes they can last long after smoking has stopped -- according to some recent studies. More researches are required to find more possible dangers of third-hand smoke.

Some experts also believe that it is not easy to eliminate or remove third-hand smoke! Using fan or opening the windows may be helpful, but these ideas may be not enough to remove it completely. The only effective solution to protect non-smoker is by providing a special room for smoker, so thus non-smokers will get their smoke-free environment. 
Reference: WebMD and MayoClinic
Image credit to ‘shutterstock’ for illustration