The devastating results of cigarette smoking have been known and studied for many years. Additionally, research has shown us that indirectly inhaling tobacco smoke may be just as dangerous as smoking the cigarette yourself.
Secondhand smoke is a combination of two forms of smoke. A non-smoker inhales the tobacco through the smoke that was exhaled by the smoker, called the mainstream smoke. They also inhale the smoke from the lit end of the cigarette, known as the sidestream smoke.
Sometimes referred to as passive or involuntary smoke, tobacco smoke pollution, or environmental tobacco smoke, secondhand smoke exposes you to the same harmful chemicals smokers inhale — thousands of them. Some of these chemicals include benzopyrene, lead, arsenic, ammonia, cyanide, and carbon monoxide.
Thus, even nonsmokers aren’t necessarily safe.
Why is Secondhand Smoke Dangerous, Exactly?
Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 70 of which can cause cancer. There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure — even brief exposure can have immediate adverse effects on your health.
The longer you’re exposed to secondhand smoke, the higher the risk of greater health problems. Here’s how.
Secondhand Smoke and the Respiratory System
Breathing in secondhand smoke impairs your respiratory system by narrowing the airways and damaging the small sacs in your lungs.
Exposure to secondhand smoke at home or at work is also known to cause lung cancer, increasing your chances of developing it by 20–30%. In the US, secondhand smoke is the cause of more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths yearly.
Involuntary Smoke and the Circulatory System
In the United States alone, secondhand smoke kills nearly 34,000 people from heart disease each year. Exposure to it reduces the blood flow distributed to the body, increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack from the insufficient blood supply.
The chemicals inhaled through secondhand smoke also damage the lining of the arteries, making your blood platelets stickier and more prone to clotting.
Secondhand Smoke and Children
Secondhand smoke poses an even greater risk to children — whose organs are still developing. The defenses in their bodies are barely strong enough to ward off toxic chemicals.
This smoke can affect children in the following ways:
- Increased risk of ear infections, asthma attacks, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- A weakening of the lungs, thus increasing the rate of developing lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia
- Coughing and wheezing
Furthermore, studies have shown a relationship between breathing secondhand smoke and the increased risk of developing mental and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD among children. Children whose parents smoke are also more likely to develop a tobacco addiction than children with parents who don’t smoke.
How Do You Prevent the Harmful Effects of Secondhand Smoke?
Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard that affects both adults and children at home and in the workplace. If you’re living with people who smoke, you and your loved ones are constantly at risk of developing severe health conditions as a result of secondhand smoke exposure. So, what can you do to prevent it?
Avoid Passive Smoke
The only way to reduce such health risks is to stay away from tobacco smoke completely. Put “Thank you for not smoking” signs near or outside your home, car, and office to alert smokers to move away when they light a cigarette.
It’s also vital that you teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke, as they’re the most vulnerable demographic — along with people with respiratory conditions — to the adverse effects of secondhand smoke. Coordinate with school representatives to ensure a smoke-free learning environment for your children.
If you’re a smoker, ideally, you make the choice to quit. If not, you can protect your loved ones by avoiding smoking in your home, car, and at work and only smoking outside or in designated smoking areas.
Invest in an Air Purifier that Uses HEPA Filters
Air purifiers have been steadily on the rise in the market due to their proven effectiveness in making indoor air quality at home and the workplace clean and pollutant-free. Most air purifiers use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, a type of medical filter that uses a very fine mesh to trap particles like dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and secondhand smoke.
The Sans air purifier includes a three-stage filter that’s comprised of a pre-filter (to capture larger pollutants like dust and hair), a HEPA-13 medical-grade filter (for capturing viruses, bacteria, and allergens), and an activated carbon filter (which neutralizes volatile organic compounds). It ends with pulses of UV-C light, which neutralizes the pathogens and microorganisms that the purifier has caught to ensure that they don’t grow on the other filters and end up back in the air you breathe, making you sick. It’s a self-sustained ecosystem that can ignite a noticeable improvement in your indoor air quality.
Your Sans purification system works by forcing air mixed with tobacco smoke through its heavy-duty filters and then recycling it back into the room as clean, high-quality air. It’s a simple but powerful way to literally breathe easier.
If placed strategically, your Sans air purifier can guarantee you a tobacco smoke-free home and working environment. Learn more about the best place to put your air purifier for maximum efficacy.
You can’t always control the choices of the people around you, and avoiding secondhand smoke completely might not be an option. Be vigilant about staying away from smokers and take the necessary precautions to cleanse your indoor air. Putting an air purifier in your home or office can offer significant protection. Shop with Sans today and feel the difference.