Is passive smoking dangerous? Yes, it is because it affects children and adults. Have you ever noticed how cigarette smoke worsens nasal congestion? One also has to deal with a nagging runny nose and sore throats. Today, we’ll look at how ill one can get from second hand smoke.
1. What are the short-term effects of secondhand smoke?
Table of Contents
- Eye irritation
- Asthma attacks
2. Is second hand smoke worse than smoking a cigarette?
No, it isn’t due to different levels of chemical concentration in smoke. People who prefer smoking their tobacco through pipes sometimes inhale hot particles. This is what causes that burnt feeling behind the throat after a few puffs.
If you’re expectant, you shouldn’t hang around smokers. The passive smoke might seem negligible but it has the potential to cause lifelong illnesses on your child. Plus, it worsens morning sickness. One might experience nausea the entire day rather than a couple of hours.
Let’s look at some of the effects.
1. High blood pressure
People smoke tobacco for the nicotine, which is a highly addictive stimulant. When it gets inside your blood, it makes your heart pump harder. That’s why you might feel a head rush when sitting in a crowded place filled with tobacco smoke. High blood pressure comes about when one constantly inhales passive smoke because there’s still nicotine present in the air.
High blood pressure, also known as the silent killer due to one reason. You won’t notice it until it’s too late. Also, it usually leads to other serious conditions such as kidney failure or stroke. You can tell the symptoms if you frequently have intense headaches, periods of confusion, chest pains, and an irregular heartbeat.
2. Increases your chances of cardiac arrest
Your heart beats faster when you continuously inhale smoke filled with nicotine. This sudden rise in your heart rate affects nearby arteries and veins responsible for regulating blood flow to the body. The walls of your blood vessels become weak due to the unexpected rise in blood pressure.
Nicotine also affects your blood vessels in another way. It causes plaque to form inside your arteries and veins because tissue cells tend to migrate abnormally. A high amount of plaque causes cardiac arrests because the heart gets overwhelmed trying to pump blood through blocked vessels.
3. Worsen respiratory illness
If you have flu and stand next to a friend who’s smoking, you’ll most likely start sneezing uncontrollably. You’ll also notice that smokers take a longer time to recover from flu compared to nonsmokers. So, imagine how hard it is if someone with asthma or bronchitis but still reaches for a pack of Camel.
Smokers with asthma have a rough time during winters or rainy seasons when it gets really cold. Why? Because the tar coating their airway and lungs make them more vulnerable to attacks compared to nonsmokers.
4. Brain tumors in a fetus
One of the nicotine effects we talked about earlier is that it alters body cells. That’s why plaque forms inside arteries near the heart. So, what happens when other parts of your body get exposed to nicotine? It might affect the life of your unborn child forever.
Medical research shows that nicotine increases the chances of a fetus having a brain tumor. That’s terrible because tumors usually mean dealing with a lifelong condition. A tumor growing near the front part of the brain might affect your child’s speech. He or she might lose the ability to speak or have a stammer.
5. Affects your mood
Let’s assume you had a rough day at work. As you’re driving home, some irresponsible driver rear-ends your car and flees instead of settling the matter. At this point, you can’t wait to reach home and collapse on your couch.
So, imagine walking inside your house and you find clouds of smoke yet you don’t even like tobacco. You’ll most likely lash out at your friend or relative and this will make you angry. It’s hard to unwind when there’s smoke lingering all over. Why? Because you’ll get nasal congestion and eye irritation trying to watch a TV show in a smoky living room.
3. Can second hand smoke kill you?
Yes, it can because it directly leads to the following cancers…
1. Voice box
The air we breathe passes through the throat before reaching our lungs. When you inhale passive cigarette smoke, you expose your throat to a combination of nicotine and hazardous chemicals such as acetone and cadmium. Acetone is used to manufacture nail varnish remover while cadmium is used to make alkaline batteries.
So, what happens when one lives with two or more chainsmokers? The throat gets exposed to so many chemicals that the tissue cells begin transforming. That’s the first stage of laryngeal or voice box cancer.
The pharynx is the pink region between your mouth and epiglottis. Sometimes this area tends to itch when you have an ear infection. One of its main roles is warming up the air you inhale before going to the lungs. So, how does second hand smoke cause cancer in this part?
The air you breathe in first passes through your pharynx then the throat. So, all harmful chemicals combined with nicotine that pass through before reaching your lungs have an effect on tissue cells. Pharynx cancer is dangerous because it can easily spread to your throat or tongue.
Did you know that your stomach contains dormant bacteria living inside? One of them is the H.Pylori that’s common in water, utensils, and vegetables. Should you be scared? Well, you won’t experience any issues if you avoid triggers such as habitual consuming spicy foods and tobacco smoking.
Nicotine combined with other chemicals are known to agitate dormant H.pylori. Continuous exposure to second hand tobacco smoke will cause ulcers because the active bacteria feed on one’s stomach lining. The ulcers later deteriorate into stomach cancer.
Daily exposure to cigarette smoke makes one lose control over their bladder. This problem is more prevalent in women compared to male smokers. Why does this happen? One of the reasons is frequent coughing bouts especially when one chooses to smoke while nursing flu.
This erratic muscle spasms affects one’s bladder. Plus, nicotine reacts abrasively with your tissue cells because cigarettes contain more than 100 artificial chemicals. Each year, at least 74,000 tobacco smokers get diagnosed with bladder cancer. That’s a really high number, isn’t it?
What are the man symptoms? You’ll notice a pink color in your urine. Then, one experiences intense pain when the bladder is active.
Cigarettes smoke causes the brain to create new paths to accommodate nicotine. Are these additions necessary? No, they aren’t because one needs to keep smoking to keep them active. However, passive smoke contains carbon monoxide. Continuous exposure causes tissue damage.
As time goes on, the tissue damage can grow into a tumor because nicotine acts as a catalyst for abnormal cell migration. Plus, cigarettes contain arsenic, which is used to manufacture rat poison. Some of the symptoms include intense headaches and temporary paralysis.
What’s the main role of the lungs? They absorb the air you breathe into your blood so that each organ receives oxygen. So, if you’re at a crowded event with tobacco smoke all over the place, your blood absorbs a high amount of nicotine. Is this dangerous?
Yes, it is because nicotine is harmful to your cells. A growing fetus can, later on, suffer from leukemia because the nicotine prevented red blood cells from developing into full circles. This type of cancer really affects a child’s ability to play sports. The limited oxygen intake means that one can only play for five minutes.
5. How to protect yourself from secondhand smoke
1. Buy an air purifier
Air purifiers absorb smoke odors within five minutes. That’s convenient especially when you’re having flu and want to recover as soon as possible. Just ensure that the smoker in your house activates it immediately after smoking. The best purifiers contain medical-grade HEPA filters.
2. Ban indoor smoking
The best way of dealing with this problem is getting down to the root cause; indoor smoking. If you constantly have to take pain medication to deal with cigarette-related headaches, then you aren’t taking your health seriously.
So, from today onwards, tell the smoker in your home to puff away outside. Even if he or she insists they’re using a vaporizer because it still involves clouds of smoke.
3. Clean up your entire house
Tobacco smells can linger around for several hours because it settles inside fabrics. Your couch, carpet, curtains, and rags absorb most of the smoke you exhale inside your home. So, in order to get rid of this smoke, you need general cleaning.
Make your home smoke free today!
You have all the power to keep second hand smoke out of your life. Implement these tips today so that you can take steps in the right direction towards avoiding the six cancers we’ve discussed.