Monday, September 29, 2008


Did you know that when you are around someone who is smoking you are probably breathing in smoke? This is know as second hand smoking. Second hand smoke is sometimes called passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke but all the terms refer to the smoke which escapes from the burning end of a cigarette and also from the smoker's mouth when they breathe out. When non- smokers are around someone who is smoking the amount of smoke the non- smokers breathe in depends on how close they are to the smoker(s), the size of the room, the number of smokers in the room and the number of cigarettes smoked. Opening a window does NOT protect you from smoke. Using ventilation, air- conditioning or a fan does NOT eliminate passive smoke. Second hand smoke is a complex mix of more than 4000 chemicals that are dangerous for your health. At least 40 substances in second hand smoke have been shown to cause cancer. Tobacco smoke also contains large quantities of carbon monoxide, a gas that inhibits the blood's ability to carry oxygen to body tissues including vital organs such as the heart and brain, as well as other substances that contribute to heart disease and stroke. Exposure to second hand smoke can cause both long tern and immediate effects on human health. Immediate effects include irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Non smokers, who are generally more sensitive to the toxic effects of tobacco smoke than smokers, may experience headaches, nausea and dizziness. Second hand smoke places extra stress or the heart and effects the body's ability to take in and use oxygen. The long term health impact of second hand smoke is increased cancer and heart disease rates after years of exposure. For asthma sufferers, however, tobacco smoke can cause immediate danger by triggering attacks. The majority of asthma sufferers report symptoms ranging from discomfort to acute distress from exposure to second hand smoke.

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