When the Smoke Clears: Protecting the Nonsmokers in Your Life
Even if you know smoking is bad for you, you still might not be ready to quit. But have you thought about the people around you who don't smoke? Your smoking is bad for them too. The smoke you exhale and the smoke that burns from a cigar, cigarette or pipe is called "secondhand smoke", and the nonsmokers around you can inhale it. It's as if they are smoking too.
Secondhand Smoke Related Illnesses
Secondhand smoke contains the same chemicals as the smoke inhaled from tobacco products. Over time, inhaling that smoke can cause tobacco-related illnesses, such as heart disease, lung disease, or cancer. In children, secondhand smoke causes the following:
- ear infections
- more frequent and severe asthma attacks
- coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath
- lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia
- a greater risk of experiencing sudden infant death syndrome.
How Can You Help Those Around You?
- Set up a "no-smoking zone". Decide that you are never going to smoke in your house or in your car. And don't let anyone else smoke in your smoke-free zone.
- Don't smoke around your children. Children of parents who smoke are twice as likely as other children to become smokers.
- When you go out, choose restaurants and other public places that are smoke free. It's not good enough to sit in the "no-smoking" section of a building in which smoking is allowed; secondhand smoke travels throughout the building.
- Teach your children smoking comes with health risks, including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.
If you are a nonsmoker, protect yourself from secondhand smoke by avoiding areas where smoking is allowed and helping your loved ones who smoke to kick the habit. Smokefree.gov is a helpful website to help kick the habit.
Nobody wins when there is smoke in the air.
Do what you can to protect your loved ones from the smoke you exhale and the smoke that burns from your cigar, cigarette or pipe. Even better, take on the challenge and quit smoking. Make your life and the lives of everyone around you smoke free.