Many people think that smoking is cool but it kills over 1 million in a year in India. Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Most commonly, the substance used is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant, which have been rolled into a small square of rice paper to create a small, round cylinder called a “cigarette”. Oxford describes passive smoking as ‘the involuntary inhaling of smoke from other people’s cigarettes, cigars, or pipes’. It is also called secondhand smoke (SHS) and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).
Passive smokers are those who are surrounded by people who smoke and they inhale the air which is filled with 7000 chemicals out of which more 70 of them are known to cause cancer. It not only harms the health of the people but also can cause death. The smoke is heavier than the air, therefore, leaving the tobacco smoke hanging in mid-air.
Hot smoke rises, but tobacco smoke cools rapidly, which stops it from upward descent. A person who smokes heavily indoors creates a low-lying smoke cloud that other householders have no choice but to breathe. Second-hand smoke has been confirmed as a cause of lung cancer in humans by several leading health authorities.
Compounds such as ammonia, sulfur, and formaldehyde irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. These compounds are especially harmful to people with respiratory conditions such as bronchitis or asthma. Exposure to second-hand smoke can trigger or worsen symptoms.
Australian data indicate that about 10% of women smoke during pregnancy. Both smoking and passive smoking can seriously affect the developing fetus. A non-smoking pregnant woman is more likely to give birth earlier, and to a baby, with a slightly lower birth weight if she is exposed to second-hand smoke in the home.
Children are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of second-hand smoke. A child who lives in a smoking household for the first 18 months of their life has an increased risk of developing a range of respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia and they are also more prone to getting colds, coughs and glue ear (middle ear infections).
This not only makes lungs weaker but they also do not grow to their full potential. A child exposed to second-hand smoke in the home is more likely to develop asthma symptoms, have more asthma attacks, and use asthma medications more often and for a longer period. School-aged children of people who smoke are more likely to have symptoms such as cough, phlegm, wheeze, and breathlessness. Children of people who smoke have an increased risk of meningococcal disease, which can sometimes cause death or disability.
There’s no way you can save yourself from passive smoking. So on the behalf of every passive smoker, please stop smoking. Many would like to willingly risk their lives but they didn’t sign up for it.