Passive Smoking (Secondhand Smoke)
The smoke emitted from the end of a burning cigarette has double the concentration
of nicotine and tar when compared to the smoke actually inhaled by the
smoker (through a filter). It also contains higher amounts of cancer-causing
chemicals. This is because smokers inhale smoke that is
filtered through both the unburned tobacco and the filter at the end of the
cigarette. This means that non-smokers subjected to secondhand smoke
breathe in a more potent smoke than smokers do. Therefore, non-smokers subjected to
secondhand smoke may actually suffer worse consequences than the smokers
Here are some of the effects of second-hand smoking:
- Lung Cancer – Long-term exposure to secondhand cigarette
smoke has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer by 20 – 30%.
In fact, each year, hundreds of non-smokers die of lung cancer as a
direct result of passive smoking.
- Heart Disease – A study published in 1997 by the American
Heart Association found that the risk of heart attack and subsequent
death is 91% higher (i.e. almost double) for women who were regularly
exposed to secondhand smoke when compared to woman who were not exposed.
The risk was 58% higher for those who were only occasionally exposed.
- Children – Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke
have twice the risk of being hospitalized for chest illnesses such as pneumonia
and bronchitis, than children not exposed to the smoke. They are also much more likely to get ear infections,
tonsillitis, wheezing and childhood asthma. In fact, passive smoking
in known to be one of the main contributory factors to the development
of childhood asthma and has been shown to increase both the frequency
and severity of the asthma attacks.
Now try answering a few questions about smoking
and other nicotine products, in Activity 3