The Effects of Second Hand Smoke

According to the EPA (Environment Protection Agency), “secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke contains more that 4,000 substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals.” The EPA has concluded that “exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmokers. “

Many smokers have little regard for the discomfort of non smokers

Still, smokers become annoyed and even outraged when a non-smoker asks them to abstain in their presence or move. Parents still smoke in the presence of children (which are known to cause childhood asthma. Co-workers smoke in the doorways of businesses so that everyone who walks through is inundated with smoke. Where it is allowed, people smoke in restaurants even though non-smokers can taste the smoke when attempting to put food in their mouths.

Instetaneous affects of second hand smoke

Last night I was in a smoking environment for 3 hours. Since I chose to be in that environment on my own accord, I did my best to ignore the smoke but moved away from direct contact with it whenever possible. I left there a full 14 hours ago. I woke up this morning noticing the following effects of the second hand smoke, some of which I am still experiencing:

~My hair reeks of the horrible smoke smell even though I washed it before going to bed.
~My bathroom has the same horrible smell, as I left smoke filled clothes in the hamper.
~My eyes are red and my lids are swollen. They are gravelly as well.
~My throat still burns and I am terribly thirsty.
~I woke up with a mild but persistent headache. It still hurts.

Smokers are desensitized to immediate affects of second hand smoke.

These are the immediate affects that being around cigarettes has had on me, a non-smoker. It had been years since I had been around smokers (since my mother died of lung cancer). I suspect daily or chain smoker would be used to these symptoms and have long stopped noticing them. If I feel this lousy after 1 evening in the presence of smokers, it is no wonder that continual exposure to second hand smoke can cause “heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children,” according to U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona.

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