Second Hand Smoke

Effects-of-Passive-Smoking-on-ChildrenSecond hand smoke (SHS) is extremely dangerous to health. Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes from the burning end of cigarette, pipe or cigar. It can also be the smoke that a smoker breaths out. Second hand smoke may also be referred to as environmental smoke which contains thousands of toxic chemicals that can cause cancer.

Since 1964, 30 separate US Surgeon General's reports have been written to make the public aware of the health issues linked to tobacco and second hand smoke. The ongoing research used in these reports continues to support the fact that tobacco and second hand smoke are linked to serious health problems that could be prevented. The reports have many important finding on second hand smoke such as:

·        SHS kills children and adults who don't smoke

·        SHS causes disease in children and in adults who don't smoke

·        Exposure to SHS while pregnant increased the chance that a woman will have a spontaneous abortion, still-born birth, low birth-weight baby, and other pregnancy and delivery problems

·        Babies and children exposed to SHS are at an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear infections, and more severe and frequent asthma attacks.

·        Smoking can cause wheezing, coughing, bronchitis, and pneumonia, and slow lung growth in children

·        SHS immediately affects the heart, blood vessels, and blood circulation in a harmful way. Over time it can cause heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks

·        SHS causes lung cancer in people who have never smoked.

·        There is no safe level of exposure to SHS. Any exposure is harmful.

·        Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to SHS in their homes and workplaces

·        On average, children are exposed to more SHS than non-smoking adults

·        The only way to fully protect non-smokers from exposure to SHS indoors is to prevent all smoking in the indoor space or building.

You should be especially concerned about exposure to secondhand smoke in 4 places:

·        At work

·        In public places

·        At home

·        In the car.

There are many things to do to minimize our exposure to secondhand smoke:        

·        Do not smoke and don't allow anyone else to smoke in your home or car. Smoke remains in carpets, clothing, furniture, and pet dander

·        If you or anyone else smokes, do it outdoors and away from children

·        Ask friends and relatives to avoid smoking near your children

·        Avoid smoky restaurants and parties. Choosing the non-smoking section is not adequate protection

·        Choose your caregivers carefully and make sure they do not smoke

·        Encourage family member and close friends who smoke to quit.