The health hazards of exposure to secondhand smoke are well recognized by experts in the healthcare field. Secondhand smoke is that environmental tobacco smoke resulting from burning tobacco. There are two forms of secondhand smoke, mainstream smoke and side stream smoke. Mainstream smoke is that which is exhaled by a smoker. Side stream smoke is the smoke which streams directly from the burning tobacco product. Either form unfortunately is harmful to innocent individuals who involuntarily engage in passive smoking as a result of it the tobacco pollution caused by the willful smoker.
If it were not bad enough that nicotine which is a powerfully addictive substance with harmful health effects is present in secondhand smoke, tobacco also produces more than 4000 chemicals of which 250 are toxic. Worse yet, 50 of the chemicals in secondhand smoke are felt to be carcinogenic or cancer-causing. Some of those carcinogenic chemicals are as follows:
o Benzene — A component of gasoline
o Formaldehyde — A chemical used for embalming corpses
o Hydrogen cyanide — A highly poisonous gas used in chemical weapons
o Carbon monoxide – An important gas comprising automobile exhaust
The Surgeon General issued a report in 2006 concluding that secondhand tobacco smoke can kill and that there is no safe amount of secondhand smoke. The report also concluded that the greater the degree of secondhand smoke exposure the greater the health risks.
Some alarming statistics relating to secondhand or passive smoke exposure are as follows:
o In the United States alone 126 million people who don’t smoke are exposed to passive smoke at home and/or at work.
o In the United States 50,000 people per year die because of secondhand smoke exposure.
o In the United States approximately 3000 deaths per year occur because of lung disease in non-smokers caused by passive smoking.
o Exposure to passive smoke increases non-smokers’ risk of developing lung cancer by between 20% and 30% and their risk of developing heart disease by 25% to 30%.
o Exposure to passive smoke results in the development of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis in between 150,000 and 300,000 children under the age of 18 months, of which between 7,500 and 15,000 require hospitalization.
o More than 40% of children who require visits to emergency rooms for severe asthma attacks live in homes where smoking occurs.
Given these alarming facts and statistics about the harmful effects of exposure to secondhand smoke, it is important to determine your degree of exposure if you are a non-smoker in a home where someone smokes or if you are possibly exposed to passive smoke in the workplace.
Thanks to an instant result quantitative nicotine test kit that can be used in the home, it is now possible to determine not only if you are exposed to secondhand smoke, but also your degree of exposure. There is also a quantitative test kit designed for professional use. Each kit comes in two types. One requires the use of a urine specimen for testing. The other uses saliva.
By determining your level of environmental tobacco exposure you can then act accordingly to address one of life’s serious health hazards.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purpose only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. The author encourages Internet users to be careful when using medical information obtained from the Internet and to consult your doctor before make decisions that can affect your health or if you are unsure about your medical condition.