There is often a great pull in modern society to indulge in unhealthy and addictive habits. Very frequently, these habits tend to become major and widespread causes of illness or premature death. It is common knowledge that cigarette smoking is one of these deadly addictions. However, not nearly enough people realize the danger that second-hand smoke poses.
Fortunately, scientists have been researching this issue to give us more precise answers. According to it, even the tiniest inhalation of the “recycled” cigarette smoke can increase the risk of various types of cancer, mainly in the lungs or the organs of the cardiovascular system.
What Is Passive Smoking?
The tobacco smoke can be divided into divided into two types – mainstream and side-stream.
Mainstream smoke is the smoke exhaled by a smoker. When a non-smoker inhales this kind of air, that person gets the same kind of toxins as the cigarette smoker would.
Sidestream smoke is the smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, or tobacco burning in a hookah. The passive smoke happens to be even more toxic than the main one simply because 80% of chemicals get spread out in the air. It can also stay inside for up to 3 hours.
What Is The Harm Of Passive Smoking For A Non-Smoker?
Passive smoke usually contains over 4,000 carcinogenic chemicals; two of which is carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Others include ammonia, acetone, phenol, nitrogen, and various aromatic polyesters. Carbon monoxide and nicotine are the substances that have an especially negative impact on the development and function of cells.
The effect of passive smoking on the body can be both short term and long term. All harmful components of the smoke are quickly removed from the body on a first exposure. However, prolonged smoke exposure can provoke coughing, shortness of breath, low blood flow to the chest, headache, wheezing, and sore throat. Tobacco smoke can also cause dizziness, weakness, and irritation of the eyes.
Regular inhalation of tobacco smoke doubles the risk of developing lung cancer, cardiovascular disease or tuberculosis. With passive and active smoking, the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is also significantly increased. Moreover, inhalation of secondary smoke often leads to the development of gastritis, diarrhea or constipation.
The other harm of passive smoking is that it is a factor in the development of lung cancer. Scientists have proven that a non-smoking person living with a smoker increases their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30% (compared with non-smokers).
What Is The Effect Of Passive Smoking For Children And Pregnant Women?
Passive smoking is especially dangerous for children, pregnant women and people suffering from chronic diseases.
Allergic diseases or colds are very common for kids in households where adults smoke. Besides that, kids with continuous exposure to tobacco smoke suffer lower immune system protection and are prone to developing bronchitis or asthma.
The effects of tobacco smoke are especially hard on the children in utero of pregnant women. The passive smoking of a pregnant woman results in an acute deficiency of oxygen in her blood — which can lead to the development of acute forms of intrauterine hypoxia of the fetus.