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Passive Smoking Effects

How secondhand smoking affects your family and environment!

Passive smoking means the smoke in the ambience exhaled from the lungs of the smoker or the smoke that comes from a person’s burning end of cigarette, cigar or pipe and that inhaled by others. This is also known as involuntary smoking, secondhand smoking and Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS).

There are 4000 chemicals in tobacco having 100 identified poisons and 63 components that cause cancer. When the smokers are directly taking these poisons in, they are, at the same time, polluting the environment with the dangerous chemicals. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) causes death of an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans per year due to lung cancer and 300,000 children undergo lower respiratory tract infections.

Worldwide research institutes have established the facts of short term and long term effects of environmental tobacco smoke. Let us understand these one by one;

Short Term Effects: It depends upon the susceptibility of a person to nicotine. Some can stay in a room with smokers for quite a long time apparently without being effected. Others may feel ill within a few minutes or an hour of exposure to environmental smoke.

  • Asthma patients may experience attacks due to ETS exposure.
  • Allergy patients experience all types of allergic symptoms like stuffy nose, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing etc.
  • Coughing
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • People who are trying to quit feel cravings for a smoke

Long Term Effects: There are quite a number of dangerous long term effects of environmental smoke depending upon the frequency of exposure to involuntery smoking. The likelihood of below mentioned diseases are increased by frequent exposure to passive smoking.

  • Risk of lung cancer
  • Risk of heart disease
  • Risk of miscarriages and birth defects
  • Risk of developing asthma in children and adults
  • Risk of ear infections
  • Aggravated asthma, allergies, and other conditions
  • Learning difficulty in children
  • Risk of lung infection

California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) identify the consequences of passive smoking which are displayed in the table below;


# Low Birth Weight

# Cot death (SIDS)

Induction & Exacerbation of

# Asthama;

# Pneumonia;

# Bronchitis;

# Lung Cancer;

# Heart disease Stroke;

# Nasal Cancer;

# Spontaneous abortion;

# Meningococcal infections in children;

# Undesirable impact on learning and behavioural development in children;

# Cancers and leukaemia in children;

#Exacerbation of cystic fibrosis;

#Asthma exacerbation in adults;

#Decreased lung function;

#Cervical cancer;

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