The health effects of smoking affect smokers and nonsmokers alike. Nearly 50,000 people die each year as a result of being exposed to secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke is a combination of a burning cigarette and the smoke exhaled by a person smoking. Secondhand smoke affects anyone breathing it in; infants, children, adults, and the elderly. Secondhand smoke is a poison and is extremely dangerous to anyone. Continued exposure can have detrimental affects!
How Secondhand Smoke Affects Unborn Babies
Even before a child is born they can suffer from the effects of secondhand smoke. Mothers who smoke or are around secondhand smoke are exposing their unborn child to the its poisonous effects. The health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke on unborn babies include:
- Low birth weights
- Under-developed and weak lungs
- Have an increased chance of developing severe asthma
- Tend to have more infections
- Are more likely to die for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
- There are higher degrees of miscarriages and stillbirths among women who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke
- Increased chance of premature birth
- Higher rates of developing certain types of allergies, particularly skin allergies
- There is emerging evidence that the risk of some childhood cancers increases as a result of the mother’s exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy
Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Children
If the unborn child is not immune to the health effects of smoking then neither are living breathing children. The sad fact is that over 3 million children under the age of 6 breathe secondhand smoke several days a week and this is all happening in their own home.
Young children are extremely susceptible to secondhand smoke and it affects them in all sorts of ways, such as:
- Decreased lung function and growth
- More likely to suffer from wheezing and coughing
- Increased risk of developing bronchitis and pneumonia (lower respiratory tract infections
- Increased chance of developing severe asthma
- Children are more likely to have fluid build up in their ears and inner ear infections
“The current Surgeon Generals Report states that there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure. Even brief exposures can be harmful to children. More than 40% of children who go to the emergency room live with a smoker and a severe asthma attack can put a child’s life in danger.”
Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Adults
Secondhand smoke is a serious problem for nonsmokers, especially if they work and/or play in places that allow smoking. The longer a person is exposed to secondhand smoke the more likely they will develop a serious illness.
Secondhand Smoke Affects the Heart
Secondhand smoke affects the heart, changing how your heart, blood, and blood vessels work. Being exposed to secondhand smoke for several hours a day can increase “bad” cholesterol levels that clog arteries. The chance of developing heart disease or having a heart attack is also increased.
Secondhand Smoke Affects the Lungs
Secondhand smoke contains poisons that affect a person’s lungs increasing their chances of developing lung cancer in adults who don’t smoke.
“Exposure to secondhand smoke at work or home increases your chance of developing lung cancer by 20% to 30%.”
Secondhand smoke can complicate matters for individuals who already have breathing problems making their conditions worse. Being around secondhand smoke makes you more congested and cough more.
Secondhand Smoke Affects other Parts of the Body
For a smoker the health effects of smoking are countless and for the nonsmoker exposed to secondhand smoke there can be many complications. Secondhand smoke irritates the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. If you have allergies it can make you sicker. Secondhand smoke is also linked to other forms of cancers such as breast cancer, nasal sinus cancer, etc. The effects of secondhand smoke are dangerous and should be avoided.
Quitting Smoking can Save Your Life
The health effects of smoking are serious, dead serious! the good news is that once you quit smoking your body begins to repair itself. Stop wasting your life, time, and money on this deadly addiction.
Quit smoking NOW!
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Surgeon’s General 2004 Report