Secondhand smoke is a combination of side stream smoke-which comes from the end of a burning cigarette and mainstream smoke-which is exhaled by the smoker. It may seem harmless but the smoke that comes from the end of the cigarette is considered to be even more harmful than the smoke inhaled by the smoker; because there are no filters. Secondhand smoke is harmful to everyone; however, pregnant women, children and partners of people who smoke are the most vulnerable.
There are over 250 harmful chemicals that can be found in the smoke created by tobacco products. Some of these chemicals are carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, arsenic, vinyl chloride and formaldehyde. The Environmental Protection Agency categorizes secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen; meaning that it can cause cancer in humans.
The more you are exposed to secondhand smoke, the higher your risk of developing diseases and suffering from the health effects. Respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness and coughing can be triggered by secondhand smoke. Other harmful health effects include the increased risk of developing heart disease, respiratory disease and strokes.
Pregnant women who consistently breathe secondhand smoke may have miscarriages or give birth to low birth-weight and premature babies. For newborns exposure can escalate the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Children can experience increased occurrences of asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infections.
Secondhand smoke is harmful, despite the level of exposure. Breathing in even a little smoke can be dangerous and the effects on your health can be immediate. There are several ways to reduce the risk of exposure to second hand smoke. You can ask members in your family not to smoke in your home, disallow smoking in your car and choose smoke- free restaurant and indoor places.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.