Passive Smoking

Smokers always find it offensive when you tell them not to smoke around you. Choosing to smoke and destroying your own health is one thing but passive smoking, also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) or Second-hand Smoke (SHS), damages the health of those around you. The first global study into the effects of passive smoking has estimated it causes 600,000 deaths every year.

A non-smoker is subjected to both the “side stream” smoke from the burning tip of the cigarette and the “mainstream” smoke that has been inhaled and then is exhaled into their environment by the smoker. Most of the smoke that builds up in a room containing a smoker is of the more harmful “side stream” type. It is not too much of a conceptual leap to understand that the smoke from cigarettes, which is so bad for the smoker, is also damaging to everyone else.

Tobacco smoke contains cancer-causing carcinogenic agents. Tobacco smoke also contains carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, which inhibits the transportation of oxygen to the body’s vital organs via the blood. The smoke emitted from the tip of a cigarette has about double the concentration of nicotine and tar as the smoke being directly inhaled by the smoker. It also contains about three times the amount of the carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene, five times the level of carbon monoxide and about 50 times the amount of ammonia. Add to these the other chemicals in the smoke like arsenic, formaldehyde, vinyl chloride, and hydrogen cyanide and you have a very unappetizing toxic gas cocktail. Remember that the passive smoker receives all of this and gets none of the enjoyment that you get out of smoking in return. Many of the potentially toxic gasses in the smoke are present in higher concentrations in the “side stream” smoke than in the “mainstream” smoke.

In tests, tobacco specific carcinogens have been found in samples of blood or urine provided by non-smokers who have been exposed to passive smoking. The great Gani Fawehinmi SAN died in 2009 after a prolonged battle with lung cancer. Prior to his death, he maintained he doesn’t smoke and was astonished when the doctors in UK told him he had lung cancer.

Any person exposed to passive smoking may experience short-term symptoms such as a headache, a cough, wheezing, an eye irritation, a sore throat, nausea or dizziness. Adults with asthma may also experience a significant decline in lung function when exposed to second-hand smoke. Under these conditions it can take as little as half an hour for an individual’s coronary blood flow to become reduced.

It was estimated that prolonged exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, such as in the home, increases the risk of lung cancer by approximately 20 to 25%. Even if you do not accept the accuracy of these percentages, it is well established that you have an increased chance of developing lung cancer through passive smoking if you are a non-smoker but live with someone who smokes. The chances of suffering from ischaemic heart disease are greater for those exposed to passive smoking compared to those who are not. Studies have shown that the risk of experiencing a heart attack is believed to be almost doubled by regular exposure to second-hand smoke.

Some of the most serious damage inflicted by passive smoking is done to children during their formative years. As you would expect, a child’s bronchial tubes are smaller and their immune systems are less developed making them more susceptible to the harmful effects of passive smoking. Due to the fact that their airways are smaller, children breathe faster than adults and, consequently, they actually breathe in comparatively more of the harmful chemicals in the smoke, based on their body weight, than adults do.Young children, by necessity, spend a lot of time at home and maternal smoking is one of the major sources of passive smoking because of the child’s close proximity to their parents during early childhood.

Exposure to tobacco smoke can double the chances of your child requiring hospitalisation for illnesses like bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia that affect the lower respiratory tract, especially during the first year of life. They are also more likely to suffer from ear infections (glue ear), tonsillitis, and asthma. Passive smoking is known to be one of the main contributing factors in the development of childhood asthma. It can exacerbate existing asthma, increasing both the frequency of the attack and its severity. Second-hand tobacco smoke may damage a child’s olfactory function so that they have difficulty differentiating certain smells. There is also the chance that passive smoking may have a negative effect on a child’s cognitive abilities, impairing their ability to read or use reasoning skills.

Just as a woman should not smoke during pregnancy, she should not be exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke. There are links between parental smoking and the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or “cot death”. It has been estimated that the infants of mothers who smoke are put at almost five times the risk of dying from “cot death” when compared to the infants of mothers who do not smoke. Passive smoking is also a recognised factor in lowering the birth weight of babies.

Not only can passive smoking harm your foetus but it can also reduce the chances of you getting pregnant in the first place. Female fertility can suffer because of passive smoking, making it harder to conceive a child.

To continue to smoke and put the health of your family and loved-ones at risk would seem, on the face of it, to be a rather selfish act. When you take into account the damage that smoking is doing to your own body, then it seems more like insanity.
Think of how traumatic it would be if a member of your family became ill or died because of your smoking habit. Now consider the fact that they would feel exactly the same way if smoking ended your life prematurely or made you seriously ill. You may find yourself asking “Why do I still smoke?”

Why (Just Curious)

Why does a poor man want what he can’t have?

Why isn’t there a cure for AIDS, cancer, diabetes et al?

Why do we always complain about those in power and yet we don’t come out to vote?

Why do “prayer warriors” directly or indirectly demand for money to pray for us?

Why can’t our President set his priorities right?

Why is Farouk Lawan still a free man?

Why do people pledge allegiance to those in power but flee & curse them when they relinquish power?

Why did the Anyene family board that Dana flight?

Why are we all afraid of the Boko Haram sect?

Why do people (especially girls) go gaga for expensive things?

Why do people (the elderly inclusive) lie because of money?

Why do people complain about those in power but when they get into the same office, they do worse than their predecessors?

Why can’t the Government pay workers well but loot money for their families and philandering acts?

Why was Dame Patience Jonathan appointed a permanent secretary in her state?

Why do men ‘kill’ themselves to make money just to please a woman?

Why do parents lie to their children about sex?

Why do we neglect the things of God?

Why do girls lie to each other?

Why do men love alcohol and women clothes & shoes?

Why do patients hate & fear nurses?

Why do we ‘hate’ people who don’t notice or talk to us?

Why do we ‘kill’ ourselves to belong?

Why are the lawyers paid more than the hospital workers in our country?

Why do doctors head Laboratory departments (in a hospital) in this country?

Why do patients get irritable?

Why is the nouveau riche always arrogant?

Why does a brother always lie about a sister that he can’t have?

Why do they say the beautiful ones are not yet born when they are everywhere?

Why do people easily forget the things you did for them and remember those you didn’t do?

Why do men lie & brag about the number of girls they’ve had?

Why do women lie about the number of men they’ve been with?

Why do we waste a lot of time writing out a list of New Year resolutions which we will never keep?

Why do we love social networking sites (facebook, twitter, tagged, flikster, yahoo, 2go, nairaland, morange, hi5, ebuddy, nimbuzz, badoo) so much?

Why do some of us need the approval of others before they can do anything?

Why do people expose all their secrets in bed?

Why do we expose our friends’ secrets to our lovers?

Why are Chelsea fans, touts; Arsenal fans, women and United fans, zealots?

Why don’t we ever tire of comparing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?

Why do people ‘hate’ you when you are successful?

Why do we rejoice when there’s a problem in another man’s relationship?

Why do people respect you when you don’t talk to them & take you for granted when you do?

Why can’t we have mad fun supporting our local teams?

Why does a guy/girl have to be the problem between two friends?

Why do we compare & want to be like Mr A when Mr A really wants to be like us?

Why are people so easily intimidated?

Why do we spend so much time facebooking, tweeting and reading a novel and less time reading the Bible?

Why do we get jaded when we spend only two hours worshipping God?

Why does music influence & affect us?

Why can’t a brother/sister tell you how big/low his/her pay check is?

Why do Pentecostal church goers dress & imitate their pastors?

Why do we only remember God when we are sick or heavy laden?

Why do most booze hounds smoke?

Why are you even alive?

Why are you forcing yourself to be hard?

Why do we take people for granted and try to take advantage of them when they are good to us?

Why do we call our lovers more than our families?

Why do we do things we can’t even do for our parents/siblings for our lovers?

Why do people look forward to the NYSC Orientation camp?

Why is the average Nigerian superstitious?

Why do our leaders rely solely on Oil as our export?

Why can’t we have a two-party system in Nigeria?

Why is Nigeria, a failed state?