Secondhand Smoking: Why All the Hype?
Just what is secondhand smoking anyway? The real definition is inhaling the smoke that comes from the smoldering end of a cigarette and the smoke that is exhaled by a smoker as well. This is also called passive smoking, though not quite as often.
There is constantly much in the news about secondhand smoking, with new reports and statistics coming out on a seemingly daily basis. But what amount of what you hear is hype, and how much is actual fact with regards to the dangers of secondhand smoking? Is there any such thing as being safe when you’re a non-smoker who lives with a smoker?
Facts about secondhand smoking.
No, secondhand smoking isn’t quite as dangerous as actual smoking. But nevertheless, there is enough danger from this that one should sit up and take notice, especially when a smoker is around children. It’s estimated that a non-smoker who lives with a smoker inhales about 15-percent of their smoking; to put it differently, for every ten cigarettes that you smoke, the non-smoker will inhale the equivalent of one and a half cigarettes.
Secondhand smoking is especially dangerous around those whose immune systems may be compromised or somewhat weaker, and this is where the extreme danger is for children. Their hearts and lungs are still developing and therefore so much more susceptible to any type of danger, especially that from passive or secondhand smoking.
The risks to little ones include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the possibility of developing asthma or having asthma attacks increase, lung infections, bronchitis, and virtually any other type of respiratory disease.
Secondhand smoking has also been linked to learning disabilities, especially for children who have been exposed to this before birth.
Pets too are not immune to the risks. Secondhand smoking is generally recognized as a risk factor for cancer in pets. A study conducted by the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Massachusetts concluded that cats living with a smoker were more likely to get feline lymphoma; the risk increased with the duration of exposure to secondhand smoke and the number of smokers in the household.
So it seems that all the information you’ve seen and read about secondhand smoking is not really hype, but that there is good reason to be concerned, for your own health.