Fears Spread About Second Hand Smoke

Second-hand smoke, also known as passive smoking, is being recognized as a environmental hazaard. It is defined as the involuntary breathing ir inhalation of smoke from tobacco products used by others. Ususally we look at the impact of second-hand smoke on a non-smoker. It occurs when the smoke permeates any environment - usually a closed environment - causing its inhalation by individuals within that environment.

Many studies have linked secondhand smoke to death and illness. Back in 2008 the American Journal of Public Health, released a study that examined the smoking histories of the adults in their homes, exposures to secondhand smoke inside the house, around the community, and attitudes toward smoking. Researchers used air-sampling technology to examine nicotine levels in the homes and hair samples to measure individual levels of exposure in non-smoking women and children.

The initial results were striking. Concentrations of nicotine in the air were 17 times higher in households with smokers compared to those without, and nicotine concentrations were about 13 times higher in homes that permitted smoking compared to households that voluntarily banned it.

Researchers also found nicotine in homes without smokers, indicating that visitors and others sometimes smoked in the homes. Children had higher levels of nicotine than women did, and among children living with a smoker, those under 5 years old had levels nearly twice as high as children ages 5 and older.

Now the World Health Organization (WHO) is weighing in on the issue.

WHO is now promoting a smoke-free environmnet as an inalienable right.  The organization lobbies for smoke-free legislation that would protect the health of non-smokers. 

Below are some facts published by the World Health Organization:

· Only  5.4% of people worldwide are protected by comprehensive national smoke-free laws.

· 22 of the worlds 100 most populous cities are smoke free.

· Nearly half of all children worldwide inhale polluted tobacco smoke.

· Passive smoking causes 600,000 premature deaths annually.

· 28% of all deaths attributable to second-hand smoke were among children.

· Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful for human health, and 50 are known to cause cancer.

· Second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in adults, including lung cancer and coronary heart disease.

· Second-hand smoke causes serious problems for infants, including sudden death.

· Second-hand smoke can cause low birthweight babies in pregnant women.

· Neurological problems - second-hand smoke may lead to dementia and other neurological problems, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.

· Second-hand smoke may trigger symptoms of nicotine dependence in children. .


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