Secondhand Smokers (SHS), Health risks and Protection - HHM

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Secondhand Smokers (SHS), Health risks and Protection

What is Secondhand smoke and who are secondhand smokers? 

Secondhand smoke (SHS) is otherwise referred to as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Why the name? It is because the Tobacco smoke comes from two sources viz; That released by the smoker (Mainstream) and that from the burning end of the cigarette or pipe (Sidestream). The sidestream smoke contains cancer causing chemical compounds (carcinogens), because they are tiny particles, it invade the lungs and other cells of the body altering the normal structure and function of such cell or tissue. 

When non smokers inhale secondhand smokes (SHS) - involuntary smoking or passive smoking, the sidestream smoke and mainstream smoke are concomitantly inhaled which increases the concentration of nicotine and other toxic compounds in the body. 
Risk of Secondhand Smokes

Why are Secondhand smokers in danger? 

 According to a report published by centers for diseases control and prevention (CDC) Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic while 70 can cause cancer. New report has shown that secondhand smokers are liable to develop stroke after long-term accumulation of the toxic chemicals. When the smoke is exhaled by the smoker, the toxic compounds becomes more concentrates as it reacts with carbon monoxide and other toxic compounds that are readily available in the air. When this combined toxic substances finds way into the lungs, it affects function and structure. As this continues over a long period of secondhand smoking, cancers sets in. Therefore giving no risk free exposure to secondhand smokers or smokes. 

Dangers of Secondhand smoking / Smokes 

In Adults 
Secondhand smokes constitute world's leading cause of adult death and has triggered several health complications among millions of non smokers who inhale secondhand smokes. Some of the health problems possed by secondhand smokes include

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) including

Cancers of the lungs (lung cancers) , Larynx (voice box), Pharynx (throat), Nasal sinuses, Brain, Bladder, Rectum, Stomach, Breast. 

In Pregnant women (Pregnancy) 
Smoking during pregnancy can be detrimental to the fetus and even after birth can result in many infant mortality and other complications. During pregnancy secondhand smokes can cause 
  • Low birth weight
  • Nasal irritation 
  • Reproductive complications 
  • Cancers of the breast, vagina, placenta 

In Children and Infants
Secondhand smokes or smoking can cause numerous health complications in infants and children, including 

Preventing Health problems arising from secondhand smokes / smoking

There is no safe concentration or level of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). Thus Adult, pregnant woman, infant and children require total smoke free existence as any exposure is harmful to the body. 

What are some of the measures required to prevent health problems arising from secondhand smokes? 

The only measure that can fully protect non-smokers (Adults, pregnant women and infants) from exposure to secondhand smokes (SHS)  is by prohibition or stoppage of smoking or avoidance of smokes both indoor and outdoor. 

Parents can protect their children from Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other Sudden death related occurrence by keeping them away from smokes. 

  1. Secondhand Smokes. Center for Disease Control and Control. 
  2. Health risks of Secondhand Smokes. American Cancer Society