Just How Harmful Is Secondhand Cigarette Smoke?

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According to the US. Surgeon General, the US. EPA and the US. National Toxicology Program, secondhand cigarette smoke DOES cause cancer. Secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke, involuntary smoke and passive smoke) is the smoke given off by a burning tobacco product and the smoke exhaled by a smoker.

At least 69 chemicals in secondhand smoke are know to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke has also been associated with heart disease in adults and sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections and asthma attacks in children.

According to the US. Surgeon General, there are NO safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke. People can be exposed to secondhand smoke in homes, cars, the workplace and public places. The amount of secondhand smoke emitted by smoking one large cigar is similar to that emitted by smoking an ENTIRE pack of cigarettes.

So how is secondhand smoke measured? it can be measured by testing indoor air for nicotine or other chemicals in tobacco smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also be tested by measuring the level od continine (a by-product of the breakdown of nicotine) in the nonsmoker’s blood, saliva or urine.

Of the more than 7,000 chemicals that have been identified in secondhand smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful. Of those 250 chemicals, at least 69 are TOXIC chemicals. Some of these are: Arsenic, Benzene, Cadmium, Nickel, Chromium, Formaldehyde and Toluene.

The harmful and fatal statistic of secondhand smoke are scary: $3,000 deaths per year due to lung cancer. Heart disease is increased by 30%. What is the innocent nonsmoker to do!

In my opinion, there is not enough being done. If a citizen wants to smoke, great, but do so at the risk only to themselves. There are still public places that are afraid of losing business by not allowing citizens to smoke. They can, just outside. I am sure that these business owners are not aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke. If they were, they would not be afraid to make the proper changes to not “due harm” to their customers. And smoking in closed areas with children, well there is just no excuse for that behavior with the amount of information out now regarding secondhand smoke. It is just stupid.

As Americans, we do so much education on prevention of disease…why are we not more up in arms about the devastating effects of secondhand smoke!  As always, You can make a difference and become more aware.

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