6 Negative Effects of Secondhand Smoking


Even though many people discard second-hand smoke as a serious problem from the start, it is, in fact, very serious. Secondhand smoking causes tens of thousands of deaths in the US each year. It is without a doubt a matter that needs more addressing and solutions as soon as possible.

Secondhand smoke is tobacco smoke you breathe in passively. When someone in your surroundings lights a cigarette, you will inhale the smoke indirectly, which is why it is also referred to as involuntary smoking. Second-hand smoke is a mix of tobacco smoke and the smoke exhaled by a smoker.

Second-hand smokers are exposed to almost the same levels of nicotine and other harmful chemicals usually found in cigarettes. Children are especially prone to health risks when inhaling secondhand smoke. That includes children that are still in the womb. If a pregnant woman inhales second-hand smoke, her baby also feels the consequences.

What Are The Health Risks?

Secondhand smoke causes a lot of potential health hazards. Over 250 chemicals found in secondhand smoke have already been identified as harmful, at least 50 of them cause cancer. Cigar smoke is full of chemicals like arsenic, benzene, cadmium, vinyl chloride, ethylene oxide, and many others.

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA classified secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen, but it also causes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as some serious health conditions. Here are the ones that are most common.

Lung Cancer

lung cancer

As you already guessed, passive smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. A study has proven that nonsmokers that inhale secondhand smoke have a much higher probability of getting lung cancer than those who do not inhale secondhand smoke.

The risk of lung cancer is increased by as much as 30% by passive smoking. Close to 8000 nonsmokers die in the U.S. due to secondhand smoking. Passive smokers are inhaling almost the same substances as smokers. A short exposure to cigar smoke can damage cells inside the lungs.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Just like smoking, secondhand smoking puts you at risk of many cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack. The blood vessels in your body become tighter which raises your blood pressure and makes your heart work under more pressure.

Tens of thousands of premature deaths caused by passive smoking occur in the U.S. every year. The risk of heart diseases and strokes is also increased by 30%. People who already had a heart attack are affected even more than others and should avoid smoke at all times.

Other Lung Diseases

Passive smoke leads to the decrease in lung function, chest congestion, coughing, and other problems. Babies that are exposed to cigar smoke can develop respiratory infections and even long-term problems.  Pneumonia and bronchitis in babies are common when they are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand Smoke and Children

The risk of pneumonia and other respiratory problems in children are not the only things you should be concerned about. Passive smoking can cause even bigger problems for children suffering from asthma. Children can experience middle ear infections, and babies are more prone to sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS.


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is the unexpected and unexplained death of infants. It can be caused by many factors, and passive smoking is one of them. If a mother smokes during pregnancy, or the baby is exposed to second-hand smoke all the time, the consequences can be fatal. The chemicals found in the smoke can interfere with the baby’s brain, particularly the breathing.

Secondhand Smoke and Pregnant Women

Just like with women who smoke actively, pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are affected in the same way. The increased risk of low-birthweight babies is the first thing they should be concerned about, but passive smoking can cause many other serious birth defects and health problems.

Passive Smoking Is Linked To Breast Cancer

Passive smoking increases the risks of all types of cancer, but breast cancer is by far the most common one to hit women. The claim has still not been proven without a doubt, but all indicators are saying that passive smoking does increase the risks of breast cancer.

breast cancer

Is There A Safe Level Of Passive Smoking?

No, there isn’t. The severity of the health problems depends on the time you were exposed to secondhand smoke. The more time you spend around smokers, the bigger the problems, which is why you should avoid passive smoking as much as possible.

Thirdhand Smoke Is Not A Myth

The term thirdhand smoke is a relatively new concept. It is the exposure to toxins accumulated in your clothing, furniture, rugs, drapes, and other materials found in your home. The toxins can be absorbed by the skin, making their way into your blood stream. You can stop third-hand smoking by avoiding secondhand smoking.


Most of us already heard that secondhand smoking is not good for us, but many still don’t understand just how bad it is. Adults with strong immune systems are prone to the harmful effects of passive smoking, and so are the children, whose bodies are still developing. If you are a passionate smoker, you should think about getting an air purifier that will protect the rest of your family from all of the diseases caused by this nasty habit.



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