Secondhand smoke has lethal effects on nonsmokers

Smoking doesn’t just impact smokers but also everyone around them when they light up.

Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer. There is no risk-free level of exposure in terms of secondhand smoke.

Since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report, 2.5 million adults who were nonsmokers died because they breathed secondhand smoke.

Being exposed to secondhand smoke can cause several serious health problems, especially for children. These include severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

However, secondhand smoke doesn’t just impact children. Adults who are surrounded by secondhand smoke face higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers. Nonsmokers have a 25 to 30 percent chance of increasing their risk of heart disease when exposed to secondhand smoke. They are also 20 to 30 percent more likely to have a stroke.

Breathing secondhand smoke can have immediate adverse effects on your blood and blood vessels, increasing the risk of having a heart attack.

When breathing in secondhand smoke, the smokes damages the lining of blood vessels and causes your blood platelets to become stickier. These changes can cause a deadly heart attack.

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This post is also available in: Chinese

About Sara Brown

Sara Brown is the Sampan health editor.
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