Second-hand smoke is the biggest cause of lung cancer in people who have never smoked according to an article published this week in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. If you’re a smoker you are putting not only your health but the health of your closest family and friends at risk. Even pets are not immune from the effects of second hand smoke.
If you need that little bit of extra motivation to quit, here are 10 facts about the dangers of second-hand smoke:
☠️ Every cigarette contains 4,000 chemicals and at least 50 of these are cancer causing, even when contained in second-hand smoke.
🚬 Exposure to other people’s smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers by 20 to 30% and coronary heart disease by 25 to 35% according to a report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer published in 2002.
👶 Second-hand smoke increases young infants’ risk of lower respiratory tract infections including flu, bronchitis and pneumonia by around 50%. It also more than doubles a child’s risk of developing invasive meningococcal disease.
😷 Did you know that 80% of cigarette smoke in the home is invisible? It can hang around for four hours even after a cigarette has been stubbed out.
🚭 Smoke particles are smaller than dust particles and drift easily from room to room spreading toxic chemicals around the house.
🏡 There is no safe way to smoke in the home. You can’t reduce the risk by opening windows or doors, smoking under an extractor fan or using air purifiers. The only way to protect others is to smoke outside the house and close the door.
🚸 Children face the biggest risk from second-hand smoke as they have smaller airways, breathe faster and their lungs and immune systems are still developing. Those exposed to second hand smoke are at risk of coughs, colds, ear problems, chest infections and poor lung function.
👎 Indirect second-hand smoke, otherwise known as smoke drift, can easily reach neighbouring homes particularly in densely populated areas. This can have a major impact on the quality of life of neighbours, causing irritation to the eyes and lungs, nausea and headaches.
🐕 Even pets are affected by second-hand smoke. Those living with a smoker inhale second-hand smoke and lick and ingest the smoke particles clinging to their fur, leading to a range of health problems including animal cancers, cell damage and weight gain. Second-hand smoke causes breathing problems and cancer in dogs, rabbits, birds and even goldfish.
🚑 In the UK passive smoking accounts for 9,500 hospital admissions a year and costs the NHS £23.3 million.