11 Ways to Avoid Secondhand Smoke
The dangers of secondhand smoke are shockingly underestimated. You might not be a smoker, but being around a smoker will put you at a definite risk for illnesses and an early death. Secondhand smoke, also known as side stream smoke and Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) refers to the smoke that is exhaled by the smoker, and that which is released from the burning tip of a cigar, cigarette or pipe. Secondhand smoke exposes you to several poisons, irritants and 40 different kinds of cancer causing chemicals. According to the U.S Environment Protection Agency (E.P.A), secondhand smoke is a Class ‘A’ carcinogen. This means that even though you may not be an active smoker, merely being exposed to secondhand smoke puts you at a risk of Lung cancer, Breast cancer, Cervical cancer, Bladder cancer and Nasal sinus cavity cancer.
Babies and young children have sensitive lungs which, if exposed to secondhand smoke, are at an increased risk of diseases and illnesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis, increased mucus production and other lung problems. The brain and lungs are in their developmental stage in babies, and the harsh chemicals in secondhand smoke can severely damage these two vital organs increasing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). How can you ensure that you and your family stay safe from secondhand smoke and all the adverse effects that accompany it?
Secondhand Smoke- Avoid It!
Take note of the following ways to avoid secondhand smoke, and implement them to stay healthy and disease-free!
- Remove all the ashtrays at home so that guests who smoke are not encouraged to light a cigarette in your house.
- Politely inform guests that they can smoke outside the house, but that smoking inside the house is not allowed.
- Put up a ‘smoke-free zone’ sign on your front door so that guests who smoke know what to expect.
- If you are hiring a caregiver or a babysitter, be sure to let them know about your no-smoking policy and how you will not tolerate smoking anywhere near the children.
- Politely inform smokers that smoking is not allowed in your car.
- Sit next to an open window when someone next to you lights a cigarette.
- When someone lights a cigarette next to you, politely request them not to smoke. Tell them that cigarette smoke makes you cough and makes your eyes itch and water.
- Choose restaurants and public places that are no-smoking areas.
- If you are staying in a hotel, let the management know about your no-smoking preferences beforehand.
- If your partner is a smoker, encourage him/her to quit.
- If your workplace does not have a ‘no smoking’ policy, speak to the authorities concerned and push for a smoke-free workplace.
Secondhand Smoke- Why Risk Your Health?
Some people may argue that the air pollution outside contains more harmful chemicals and toxins than secondhand smoke. However, this is merely an opinion and a myth at best. The truth is that secondhand smoke is a lot more dangerous than the pollutants found outdoors. A person who is regularly exposed to both air pollution and secondhand smoke is a 100 times more likely to develop cancer from secondhand smoke than from the pollutants in the air. Take a stand, and implement the aforementioned ways to avoid secondhand smoke for a healthier life!