Secondhand smoke is the silent killer that is hard to detect. Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes from the cigarette combined with the smoke that the smoker exhales. Secondhand smoke effects are economical, social and physiological. Secondhand smoke causes the most avoidable deaths in the world. Secondhand smoke is worse than normal smoke due to the ethical choice, the bystander did not choose to breathe in secondhand smoke the smoke chose to smoke. Secondhand smoke symptoms are: headaches, coughing, sore throat, eye – and nasal irritation.
Read this article to find out more about secondhand smoke, how it impacts and what it contains, also a lot more fascinating details.
What does secondhand smoke Mean?
Secondhand smoke (SHS) is smoke from burning tobacco products for example cigarettes and the smoke that the smoker exhales. Secondhand smoke happens when a bystander breathes in the smoke produced from burning tobacco products and the exhaled air by the smoker. All secondhand smoke is dangerous.
Read more about cigarettes.
Read on to find out why exactly secondhand smoke is dangerous.
Why is secondhand smoke harmful?
Secondhand smoke is harmful because it contains hundreds of harmful chemicals. There are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, including hundreds of substances that are toxic and around 70 that can cause cancer. Breathing in those chemicals from someone else’s smoke makes secondhand smoke dangerous. Secondhand smoke symptoms are: headaches, coughing, sore throat, eye – and nasal irritation.
Read on to find out if secondhand smoke is worse than smoking.
Is Second Hand Smoke Worse Than Direct Smoking?
No, secondhand smoke is not worse than direct smoking, they are both dangerous. But the side stream that comes with smoking, the smoke that burns but is not breathed in through smoking is more dangerous because it is unfiltered. But a smoker would breathe in that and through the filter as well. But keep in mind that a smoker has chosen smoking, but a bystander has not chosen it. The best thing for anyone’s health is to avoid both smoking and secondhand smoking all together.
Read on to find out about the health problems that are caused by secondhand smoke.
What are the Health Problems Caused by Secondhand Smoke?
The health problems caused by secondhand smoke are:
- Reproductive health problems in pregnant people: Problems with the fetuses.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Problems with children born that the mother had been subjected to secondhand smoke while pregnant.
- Asthma attacks and other health problems in children: Problems with respiratory system among children who were subjected to secondhand smoke.
- Heart disease and stroke: Heart rate and blood pressure related illnesses among people who were subjected to secondhand smoke.
- Lung cancer: The body’s cells grow uncontrollably in lungs and spread to other parts of the body which is brought on by the secondhand smoke that the person was subjected to.
There are a lot more secondhand smoke effects but these are the main ones. Read on to find out more details about these secondhand smoke effects.
1. Reproductive health problems in pregnant people
Reproductive health problems in pregnant people due to secondhand smoke means that there are health problems connected with the fetus that are directly caused by secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke causes there to be less oxygen in the mother’s bloodstream which means that there will be less oxygen in the fetus’s system. Proper oxygen levels are needed in order for the baby to be able to develop normally.
The only way to prevent reproductive health problems in pregnant people that are caused by secondhand smoke is to avoid secondhand smoke completely.
2. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old.
Secondhand smoke contains chemicals that affect the brain of an infant in ways that interfere with its regulation of infants’ breathing. It means that infants will have breathing problems caused by the chemicals present in the secondhand smoke.
The only way to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) that is caused by secondhand smoke is to avoid secondhand smoke completely.
3. Asthma attacks and other health problems in children
Asthma attacks and other health problems in children means that children have respiratory problems that are caused by secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke contains chemicals that cause the lungs not to work properly and that leads to different respiratory health problems.
The only way to prevent asthma attacks and other health problems in children that are caused by secondhand smoke is to avoid secondhand smoke completely.
Secondhand smoke is responsible for 150,000 to 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age, resulting in for 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually. Secondhand smoke causes over 202,000 asthma flare-ups among children annually.
4. Heart disease and stroke
Heart disease and stroke caused by secondhand smoke means that there are cardiovascular problems or problems caused by blood supply that are caused by secondhand smoke.
Exposure to secondhand smoke damages the lining of blood vessels and causes blood platelets (cell fragments in blood that form clots and stop or prevent bleeding) to become stickier. Those changes cause cardiovascular problems that lead to heart disease and strokes.
The only way to prevent heart disease and stroke that are caused by secondhand smoke is to avoid secondhand smoke completely.
Adults who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing coronary heart disease by 25–30%. Secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease annually in the U.S.
5. Lung cancer
Lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke means that there is uncontrollable cell growth that started in the lungs and spread to other parts of the body and it was caused by secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke causes the person to inhale the same cancer-causing substances and poisons that are inhaled by smokers. At least 70 out of the 4000 chemicals present in cigarette smoke are cancer causing.
The only way to prevent lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke is to avoid secondhand smoke completely.
Read on to find out about the chemicals that are absorbed by bystanders with secondhand smoke.
What Types of Chemicals are absorbed by Humans with Secondhand Smoke?
The type of chemicals that are absorbed by humans with secondhand smoke are:
1. Cadmium: a toxic bluish-white malleable ductile divalent metallic element used especially in batteries, pigments, and protective platings.
2. Ammonia: a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell, which dissolves in water to give a strongly alkaline solution.
3. Hydrogen Cyanide: a colorless poisonous gas, HCN, having a bitter almond like odor: in aqueous solution it forms hydrocyanic acid.
4. Benzene: a colorless volatile liquid hydrocarbon present in coal tar and petroleum, and used in chemical synthesis.
5. Toluene: a colorless liquid hydrocarbon present in coal tar and petroleum and used as a solvent and in organic synthesis.
6. Butane: a flammable hydrocarbon gas of the alkane series, present in petroleum and natural gas.
Read on to find out more details about these chemicals.
Cadmium is a natural element in the earth’s crust. Cadmium is used in a variety of products: batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics, and it is also present in cigarette smoke.
Breathing in cadmium damages people’s lungs and can cause death. Exposure to cadmium over time may build up cadmium in the kidneys and cause kidney disease and fragile bones. Cadmium is a cancer-causing chemical.
Modern German cigarette tobacco contains about 0.5-1.5 micrograms cadmium/cigarette. About 0,05 micrograms absorbed into the body from a cigarette.
Cadmium comes from earth’s crust. Most soil and rocks, everything connected with earth’s core contains cadmium. Cadmium enters the environment through natural processes due to rain and sun but also through mining. Basically anything that impacts earth’s crust (volcanoes for example) can cause cadmium to release.
Ammonia is a colorless liquid or gas with a strong, sharp smell. It is used in making household cleaning substances, it is also present in secondhand smoke.
Breathing in ammonia irritates your throat and lungs, it also can lead to lung damage and death due to that. Ammonia from secondhand smoke also causes and flares up asthma.
Ammonia comes from the nitrogen cycle and is produced in soil from bacterial processes. Ammonia is also produced from decomposition of organic matter, including plants, animals and animal wastes in nature.
3. Hydrogen Cyanide
Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is a colorless or pale-blue liquid or gas with a bitter, almond-like odor (just like other cyanides).
Hydrogen cyanide from secondhand smoke impacts the body’s use of oxygen and may cause harm to the brain, heart, blood vessels, and lungs. It can end with death.
Secondhand smoke contains less than 5 ppm-s of hydrogen cyanide.
Benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light-yellow liquid at room temperature. Benzene has a sweet odor and is extremely flammable.
Benzene causes cells not to work correctly. It causes bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which leads to anemia. It lowers levels of antibodies and causes the loss of white blood cells which leads to problems with the immune system. Benzene also causes abnormal cell growth which leads to cancer.
Benzene is present in volcanoes, forest fires, crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke.
Toluene is a liquid hydrocarbon C7H8 that resembles benzene but is less volatile, flammable, and toxic and is used especially as a solvent, in organic synthesis, and as an antiknock agent for gasoline.
Toluene causes eye and nose irritation, tiredness, confusion, euphoria, dizziness, headache, dilated pupils, tears, anxiety, muscle fatigue, insomnia, nerve damage, inflammation of the skin, and liver and kidney damage. It is less toxic than benzene and does not cause cancer but is still harmful and toxic.
Toluene comes from crude oil and in the tolu tree. But it can be made from benzene and other chemical substances.
Butane is a colorless gas with a faint petroleum-like odor that is transported as a liquefied gas under its vapor pressure. It causes frostbite when come to contact with. It is highly flammable.
Butane comes from Stemona Tuberosa and Calendula Officinalis (plants).
Secondhand smoke delivers butane which causes toxicity in the brain and the myocardium. Butane is a central nervous system depressant which slows down the activity of the brain, affecting physical and mental responses. Butane causes all kinds of damage to the body through the nervous system.
Now that you are aware of the presence of these harmful chemicals in secondhand smoke, read on to find out whether nicotine can be absorbed from secondhand smoke.
Can you Absorb Nicotine with Secondhand Smoke?
Yes, you can absorb nicotine with secondhand smoke. One hour of secondhand smoke in an enclosed space results in equal amount of nicotine reaching the brain to direct exposure to tobacco smoke. That result is the same for nonsmokers and smokers. So in short one hour of direct smoke delivers as much nicotine as smoking one cigarette.
Read more about Nicotine.
Read on to find out about the best way to safeguard people from secondhand smoke exposure.
What is the best way to safeguard people from secondhand smoke exposure?
According to the biggest local and international agencies (FDA, WHO, DHHS, Red Cross) the best way to safeguard people from secondhand smoke exposure is to ban smoking completely. Some countries (for example New Zealand) are trying that approach. What people can themselves is ban smoking in their homes, cars, and avoid areas where people smoke.
Read on to find out where people are most exposed to secondhand smoke.
Where are most people exposed to secondhand smoke?
People are most exposed to secondhand smoke:
- Home: People are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. It is due to a family member, roommate, or a housemate who is smoking. In apartments secondhand smoke can drift from other units through hallways, stairwells, and ventilation systems.
- Work: People are exposed to secondhand smoke at work. Smoke from smoking areas, hallways, outside can get into places of work and damage everyone’s health.
- Public places: People are exposed to secondhand smoke in bars, restaurants, and casinos. There are usually smoking areas in those places but because of work or social relationships some people who are not smokers get exposed to secondhand smoke there.
Read on to find out which industries contribute to secondhand smoke.
What Industries Contribute to Secondhand smoke?
Blue collar industries contribute the most to secondhand smoke. The lower middle class and the poor are most likely to smoke cigarettes. Which means that where they are is the biggest likelihood for secondhand smoke. It is also the least monitored workforce for smoking regulations.
The industries that contribute the most to secondhand smoke are:
- Construction: In construction sites the work hours are long, the job is stressful so smoking in construction sites is a normality. That means that everyone is exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturing industry is another field where smoking is a normality and everyone is subjected to the harmful impacts of secondhand smoke.
- Logistics: Logistics is a field where drivers ride long hours and often when they stop, they have a cigarette which means everywhere they go they cause harmful effects of secondhand smoke.
Read on to find out if you can get secondhand smoke from vapes.
Can you Get Secondhand Smoke from Vapes?
Yes, you can get secondhand smoke from vapes. It is not exactly burnt tobacco and smoke but it is secondhand vapor that contains tens of harmful chemicals. According to a 2022 research paper secondhand vaping contributes to respiratory illnesses. So secondhand vapor is also dangerous to bystanders and should be avoided.
Read more about Vape.
Read on to find out how secondhand smoke impacts kids.
How does Secondhand Smoke Affect Children?
Secondhand smoke impacts the children the most because their lungs are smaller, they have a faster breathing rate and their immune systems are still developing. In addition, children often do not have the option to avoid the smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause children to have: middle ear infections, lung and breathing illnesses, asthma, delays in lung growth, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and meningitis. It is important to protect children from the impacts of secondhand smoke because they cannot do it themselves in most cases.
Read on to find out how secondhand smoke impacts all nonsmokers.
How does Secondhand Smoke Affect Non-Smokers?
Secondhand smoke impacts non-smokers with thousands of harmful chemicals out of which cause cancer. Secondhand smoke affects nonsmokers by causing: heart diseases, lung cancer, strokes, nasal and sinus cancers. The milder impacts of secondhand smoke to nonsmokers are: headaches, coughs, sore throats, dizziness and making you feel sick. Secondhand smoke impacts all nonsmokers. It is best to avoid smoking. Nicotine pouches are a healthier option and Snusboss offers the best selection of nicotine pouches with great prices.
Read on to learn the details of how secondhand smoke contributes to lung cancer.
How does Secondhand Smoke Contribute to Lung Cancer?
Secondhand smoke contributes to lung cancer by containing 40 cancer causing chemicals. Those chemicals send your body signals to start abnormal cell growth in the lung area and spread from there all over the body. It starts from the lung area because that is where the breathed in secondhand smoke can impact your body the most.
Now that you are aware of the threats that come with secondhand smoke read on to find out how to prevent secondhand smoke harmfulness.
How to Prevent Secondhand Smoke Illness?
To prevent secondhand smoke illness, follow these steps:
- Do not smoke: If you do not smoke then you come in contact with direct smokers less so you lower your secondhand smoke intake together with first hand smoke intake.
- Do not allow smoking in your house: If you do not allow smoking in your home then you reduce the secondhand smoke you come in contact with.
- Do not allow smoking in your car: If you do not allow smoking in your car then you reduce the secondhand smoke you come in contact with.
- Healthy diet and anti-inflammatory food: Healthy diet and anti-inflammatory foods help to clean your body faster from harmful secondhand smoke.
- Green tea: Green tea reduces inflammation from the lungs and protects lung tissue from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation.
- Stay hydrated: When you are hydrated then your body detoxes faster from secondhand smoke.
Now that you are aware of measures on how to prevent secondhand smoke diseases to be absorbed by the body, read on to find out about the legislation to combat secondhand smoke.
How does the Law Regulate the Dangers of Secondhand Smoke?
Law in the United States of America is constantly battling with the effects of secondhand smoke. For example, smoking in indoor worksites and public places is forbidden through state and local laws. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandated that all public housing agencies had to implement indoor smokefree policies within all their buildings in 2018. In February 2022, 67 municipalities nationwide had laws that required 100% smokefree multi-unit housing, all of them were located in California. California seems to be the forth runner when it comes to combating smoking and impacts of secondhand smoke.
Read on to find out how many people die because of secondhand smoke.
How Many People Died from Secondhand Smoke?
All together tobacco use causes more than 7 million deaths annually that is for smokers and nonsmokers combined all over the world. Secondhand smoke causes around 41000 deaths annually among adults in the USA. Secondhand smoke contributes to 700 cases of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) annually.
Read on to find out in what ways secondhand smoke affects the environment.
Does Secondhand Smoke Affect the Environment?
Secondhand smoke affects the environment through air, then it absorbs into the ground and enters water systems. Basically, secondhand smoke and all the toxic chemicals in it will get into the environment through different ways. The contamination will surround us, even if secondhand smoking happens miles aways. It is in everyone’s best interest to stop smoking everywhere.
Read on to find out whether secondhand smoke affects animals.
Can Secondhand Smoking Affect Animals?
Yes, secondhand smoking affects animals. They breathe in the smoke and toxic chemicals and it impacts their health in bad ways. For example: secondhand smoke creates asthma symptoms, lung cancer and other forms of cancer in dogs. Secondhand smoke also increases the risk that cats will develop lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.