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Passive Smoking (Second Hand Smoke)

Passive Smoking (Second Hand Smoke)


  • Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, more than 250 of which are toxic. And more than 50 of the chemicals in cigarette smoke are known or suspected to cause cancer. For example
  • Ammonia — irritates lungs
  • Carbon monoxide — reduces oxygen in blood
  • Methanol — toxic when inhaled or swallowed
  • Hydrogen cyanide — a potent poison that interferes with respiratory function
  • The dangerous particles in secondhand smoke can remain in the air for hours. Breathing them even for a short time — as little as 20 or 30 minutes — can harm in a variety of ways. And breathing in secondhand smoke over years can also be dangerous.

Health Threats to Adults

  • Cancer: Secondhand smoke is a known risk factor for lung cancer. Secondhand smoke is also linked to cancer of the nasal sinuses.
  • Heart disease: Secondhand smoke causes heart disease, such as a heart attack. It also damages blood vessels, interferes with circulation and increases the risk of blood clots.
  • Lung disease: Chronic lung ailments, such as bronchitis and asthma, have been associated with secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke is also associated with chest tightness at night and feelings of breathlessness after physical activity.

Health Threats to Children Growth and development

  • Women who are exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy are at higher risk of having babies of slightly lower birth weight. This can cause many health problems for the baby, such as cerebral palsy or learning disabilities.
  • Women who actively smoke during pregnancy expose their developing baby to passive smoke — the chemicals may pass through the placenta — and put the baby at risk of lower birth weight.
  • An infant who was exposed to secondhand smoke as a developing fetus may be at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Post-birth exposure to secondhand smoke from the mother, father or others in the household also increases the risk of SIDS.

Asthma and other respiratory problems

  • Secondhand smoke may cause asthma in children. In children who already have asthma, secondhand smoke can make episodes more frequent and more severe.
  • Secondhand smoke is also tied to infections of the lower respiratory tract, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, especially in those younger than 6 years of age

Middle ear conditions

  • Children living in households with smokers are more likely to develop middle ear infections (otitis media).

Common Health Threats        

  • Chronic coughing, phlegm and wheezing
  • Eye and nose irritation
  • Reduced lung function
  • Irritability

How to avoid second hand smoke    

  • Don’t let family members or guest to smoke inside your house.
  • Don’t allow smoking in your vehicle.
  • When you have to share a room with people who are smoking, sit as far away from them as possible.
Chronic coughing, phlegm and wheezing
Passive Smoking Second Hand Smoke