Can Secondhand Smoke Impact Your Breathing?

Secondhand smoke might not seem like a big deal to nonsmokers, but it is a serious health hazard that causes more than 41,000 deaths per year.

Smoking doesn’t just affect smokers; it can harm their friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, and anyone else they smoke around. The toxins emitted from tobacco are just as hazardous to bystanders and can leave them with severe heart and lung problems.

Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of smoke and prevent the deadly diseases it causes.

What Is Secondhand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke combines tobacco smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and exhaled smoke from a smoker. Nonsmokers who involuntarily inhale this expose themselves to the same chemicals as smokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoke, even secondhand, contains more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. Seventy of these chemicals are linked to cancer, making primary and secondary smoke a known human carcinogen (a cancer-causing agent).

Health Risks of Secondhand Smoke

There is no risk-free level of exposure when it comes to smoke in the air. In addition to lung cancer, it has a link to serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, such as: 

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia

Additionally, all forms of smoke can irritate the lungs and severely impact breathing. Coughing, wheezing, chest congestion, shortness of breath, asthma attacks, and even decreased lung function can occur from prolonged exposure.

Secondhand Smoke and Children

Secondhand smoke is responsible for numerous health problems in infants and children. Children who are exposed to this are more like to experience: 

  • Ear infections
  • Lower respiratory tract illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and croup
  • Asthma attacks
  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Lower birth weight in babies
  • Cataracts
  • Tooth decay

Secondary smoke is known to interfere with crucial growth during childhood and infancy. The lungs begin developing inside the womb and continue to develop throughout childhood. Smoke exposure stunts this development and prevents the lungs from reaching their potential.

Preventing Secondhand Smoke Exposure

The best way to prevent exposure is to avoid areas where people commonly smoke. Nationally, several laws restrict smoking in many public places but try to avoid congregating in designated smoking areas.

It’s also imperative that you don’t allow anyone to smoke near your child. Establish boundaries with friends and family members who smoke by asking them to smoke outside instead of indoors.

Choose O2 Assist for Your Oxygen Treatments

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about respiratory illness related to secondhand smoke. If they suggest at-home oxygen treatments, O2 Assist is here to provide you with an oxygen concentrator to meet your needs. Shop online to learn more about your options and experience our excellent customer service. If you would like to speak with someone, do not hesitate to reach out! We’ll be happy to serve you. 

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