The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

posted Oct 26, 2010, 6:20 AM by Sara@LS

Do you smoke tobacco? If not, your health might still be in danger. For instance, does your favorite hangout allow smoking indoors? Do you have to walk through smoke anytime you enter or exit your building?


According to the National Cancer Institute breathing secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke can be just as damaging as being a smoker. This is thanks to the 250+ toxic chemicals that are rolled up in one little cigarette – 50 of which are thought to cause cancer.


Included in the secondhand smoke group of toxins, are:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Arsenic
  • Ammonia
  • Cadmium
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Methanol
  • Hydrogen Cyanide


Any of these toxins can remain in the air hours after smoking has stopped. Even breathing these chemicals in for 30 minutes can be harmful to your health, let alone years and years of continuous exposure.


The health risks of secondhand smoke never end. In adults, they can result in lung cancer, cancer of the sinus cavities, lung disease, and heart disease or heart attack. Secondhand smoke can also be very harmful to children. It can cause asthma, respiratory illness, chronic ear infections, and growth and development problems. Both adults and children might experience allergy-like symptoms, irritability and chronic coughing.


You can protect yourself and your family from secondhand smoke by creating an action plan and setting a standard.

  • Ask friends, family and your spouse to smoke outdoors, away from points of entry.
  • Pick establishments that have a smoke-free policy when planning dinner parties, company outings or a family activity night.
  • Don’t allow friends or family to smoke inside your car. Rolling windows down will not eliminate smoke residue and secondhand smoke exposure
  • Offer support if your family and friends choose to quit.


Remember, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke.



For more information on secondhand smoke, visit

Oct 26, 2010, 6:21 AM