What are the particular effects and consequences caused by secondhand smoke and how harmful is it to children, women, smokers and non-smokers?
How can the effects caused by secondhand smoke be remedied?
What is secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoking is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers. Essentially, it is the combination of emitting smoke from cigarettes especially one which is blown by an active smoker.
Exposure of non-smokers to secondhand smoke is essentially involuntary or passive smoking. Non-smokers are the ones who bear the cost and effects of second-hand smoking.
Secondhand smoking is also known as environmental tobacco (ETS). Essentially, it of two types:
Mainstream smoke which involves the smoke emanating from a cigarette of an active smoker.
Side stream smoke which is actually smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, cigar or tobacco and which contains high concentrations of carcinogens. Surprisingly, side stream smoke happens to be more toxic than mainstream smoke.
Secondhand smoke is indeed a health hazard especially due to the fact that it leads to more than 40,000 deaths annually (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005). Approximately $5.6 million is lost in the economy as a result of secondhand smoking. Restaurants and bars have the highest levels of secondhand smoking incidents followed by smoking in residences and workplaces (US. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006).
Effects and consequences of secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke contains lots of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Some of the chemicals contained include benzo(a)pyrene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide as well as ammonia (Barnoya, Glantz, 2005). Heath complications brought about by second-hand smoking include coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Also, it leads to numerous heart diseases including lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer, and stroke as well as breathing problems such as coughing, wheezing, pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005).
Remedies and recommendations on eradicating secondhand smoke.
To curb the spreading of secondhand smoking, preventive actions such as prohibiting smoking while driving in cars, ensuring that childrens day care centers and schools are tobacco free, prohibiting smoking in or near residential areas as well as banning smoking at workplaces and in public areas (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006).
Instead, smoking-free zones should be set up, air purifiers and ventilation systems installed in buildings and most importantly, effective laws prohibiting smoking or use of tobacco in schools, public places, working zones as well as in government public offices should be put in place.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2005). Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The Changing Concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Diagnostic Coding Shifts; Controversies Regarding the Sleeping Environment; and New Variables to Consider in Reducing Risk. Pediatrics. 116(5):124555. Accessed 2017 March 22.
Barnoya, J., & Glantz, S. A. (2005). Cardiovascular effects of secondhand smoke. Circulation, 111(20), 2684-2698.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2006). The health consequences of Involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke: A report of the surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. Accessed 2017 March 22.
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