Is second-hand smoke worse than smoking? Smokers, non-smokers, and health experts have battled over this question for decades.
Answering it is a struggle because of the differing views on the issue. Perhaps science will offer some insights into how dangerous second-hand smoke is.
What Is Second-Hand Smoke?
For many of us, smoke is what it is. There’s no difference between first and second-hand smoke. Or is there?
Second-hand smoke has its name for a reason. It’s smoke from tobacco products that we don’t inhale directly. It’s smoke we inhale when others light up.
Second-hand smoke is harmful, and there is evidence to back this statement.
First of all, it compromises the health of a smoker’s loved ones. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 2 500 000 passive smokers have died from smoke inhalation since 1964.
Separating smokers from non-smokers may not prevent people from inhaling second-hand smoke. Air filters and open windows aren’t practical solutions either. The CDC says that nearly 64 000 people have died from breathing in second-hand smoke.
Most exposure to second-hand smoke happens in homes where a family member is a heavy smoker. It also happens in workplaces where colleagues are chain smokers. People are susceptible to smoke inhalation in public places.
The Health Effects of Second-Hand Smoke
Children and adults may suffer from the effects of passive smoking.
1. Health Effects On Young Children
- A. Ear infections
According to the CDC, children exposed to second-hand smoke are susceptible to ear infections.
- B. Asthma
The center has also found that children of active smokers had more frequent asthma attacks.
- C. Respiratory Symptoms and infections
Children also experienced breathlessness upon inhaling second-hand smoke. They contracted infections like bronchitis, according to the center.
- D. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Children who breathe in tobacco smoke involuntarily tend to die of unclear causes.
2. Health Effects on Adults
What are the effects of second-hand smoke and smoking on adults?
- A. Heart Disease
The CDC has found that second-hand smoke accounts for more than 34 000 deaths from heart disease.
- B. Lung Cancer
The center revealed that about 7300 passive smokers died from lung cancer.
Is Second-Hand Smoke Worse Than Smoking? The Answer Is Yes
Second-hand smokers may suffer more consequences of smoke inhalation than active smokers. Here’s why according to science.
1. Increased Risk of Lung Cancer
First of all, passive smoking puts a person at risk of lung cancer. Scientists and Researchers have conducted over 50 studies on passive smoking.
Many of them show that the spouses of smokers have an increased risk of lung cancer compared with themselves. The danger, in general, stands a 20% for men and 30% for women.
2. Childhood Cancers
There is no consistent relation between childhood cancer and involuntary smoking. However, there is a link between smoking during pregnancy and metastasis in infants,
3. Cancer in Animals
There is some evidence that second-hand smoke may cause cancer in animals. Researchers tested a mixture of 89% sidestream smoke and 11% mainstream smoke on mice that were susceptible to tumors. The combination triggered tumors in Swiss Mice.
What to Do to Protect Yourself
Second-hand smoke doesn’t have to leave us helpless. There’s plenty we can do to eliminate it.
First of all, make a conscious decision to stop smoking. Doing so helps to protect the health of your family members.
2. Disallowing smoking
Also, forbid smoking in your home. You’ll play a part in boosting everyone’s health. Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your car, even with the windows rolled down.
3. Smoke-Free Schools
Ensure that your children’s schools and Day Care Centres are tobacco-free.
Seeking out restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking (if your state still allows smoking in public areas).
4. Eat At Smoke-Free Restaurants
Have your meals at smoke-free restaurants. You’ll play a part in promoting tobacco-free environments.
5. Teach your children about second-hand smoke
Remind your children to stay away from people when they smoke.
6. Role Modeling
Finally, set a good example. You can’t tell others not to smoke when you do so yourself.
In all, it is evident that both second-hand smoke and smoking itself have detrimental effects on our health, but don’t be discouraged. There’s a lot all of us can do to keep our surroundings smoke-free, and protect our lives.