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The Harmful Impact of Passive Smoking

The Harmful Impact of Passive Smoking


Smoking is injurious to health. A statement which most smokers tend to take lightly and mask it with excuses like “It’s my life”, “Everyone has to die someday” or “I’m harming my body and that’s none of your business.” This is where they are wrong. Smoking is not only injurious to the smoker's health but also affects the health of those around him/her.

According to a study by the World Health Organization, despite India’s regulation on public smoking, over 30% of non-smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke on a regular basis at home or at work.

Here are some statistics about passive smoking in India:

  • 41% males and 39% females are exposed to second-hand smoke at home.

  • 32% males and 19% females are exposed to second-hand smoke at work.

  • Tobacco kills 1.3 million people in South East Asia region every year and this includes people who have never smoked in their life.

What is secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Smoking cigarettes are the number one source of the second-hand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains over 7000 chemicals, many of which are irritants and toxins and are known to cause cancer and other respiratory problems.

Statistics show that non-smokers who live with a smoker have an increased 20% probability of developing lung cancer or falling prey to a premature death.

Passive smoking harms a non-smoker’s body in the following ways:

Heart diseases: Due to the constant exposure to secondhand smoke, non-smokers have an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, and other heart-related ailments.

Pregnancy side effects: Due to inhaling stagnant secondhand smoke, pregnant women are more likely to have problems during childbirth as the smoke affects the development of the fetus.

Lung cancer: Passive smoking is extremely harmful to the lungs and can lead to lung cancer. It is one of the most predominant causes of death in passive smokers.

Respiratory issues: Passive smoking can cause major respiratory issues like asthma and bronchitis. This happens due to the presence of toxic compounds like sulfur and ammonia in the smoke exhaled by smokers.

Reduced life span: Health experts say that passive smoking, in the long run, can reduce a non-smoker’s lifespan resulting in an untimely and premature death.

As a responsible person of the society, it is your role to stand up against public smoking and try to curb the consequences of passive smoking.

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