Behavior Health and Wellness Blog

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Second-hand Smoke and It’s Ignored Implications

An average of 5.5 minutes of life is lost per each cigarette that is smoked. Tobacco smokers also have a risk that is 10 times greater in acquiring lung cancer, two times greater risk of myocardial infarction, and a risk six times greater at developing COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The economic costs of smoking shouldn’t be ignored, as smoking can contribute to higher medical bills, risk of fire in home and workplace, and higher risk of smoking related health conditions, as well as a higher rate of premature death and morbidity. Tobacco smoke consists of two types. Mainstream, which is inhaled directly by the mouth of the smoker, and side stream or second-hand smoke which is inhaled by others in the air. Side stream or second-hand smoke is the smoke that comes from the tip of the ignited cigarette, and is mixed with surrounding air. Second-hand smoke is also referred to as environmental smoke at times, and is a combination of smoke that is exhaled by the smoker, and burned from the end of the cigarette. Passive smoking is when someone breathes in this second-hand smoke.


Smoking is bad for both the smoker, and also the one’s exposed to second-hand smoke. Many cancerous toxins have been found in tobacco smoke and they are in no way safe to inhale. Non-smokers are often exposed to second-hand smoke when someone nearby is smoking, which exposes the non smokers to second-hand smoke health hazards. Non-smokers are likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke in public places such as public transportation, restaurants, in vehicles, shopping centers, schools, daycares and offices. Children may be exposed to second-hand smoke at home when either the parents or elder siblings are smokers and smoke in the house. Children are sensitive to second-hand smoke and being exposed to this can cause second-hand smoke related health problems. Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and at least 250 are known to cause diseases. Second-hand smoke contains cancerous toxins such as:

  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrosamines
  • Ammonia


We conclude by recognizing the health hazards smoking has on individuals as well as communities. Tobacco smoking has become a global epidemic with impacting the health of both smokers and non smokers alike. Tobacco smoke is dangerous at every stage of life, from youth to senior years, it shouldn’t be used. Exposure to tobacco smoke can have immediate affect on the cardiovascular system, leading to health issues such as stroke, or coronary heart disease. Second-hand smoke interferes with the normal functions of the heart and can lead to heart attack or heart disease. By raising more awareness on the negative impacts of smoking and second-hand smoke we can prevent its use. When individuals are educated about all of the negative health side effects of smoking they may be more likely to seek help for quitting.



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