The official blog of the Lung Institute.
The Harm of Secondhand Smoke
The aftermath of generations of smokers is apparent from the number of elderly people suffering from lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Unfortunately, smoking is not a solo sport. Millions of people are affected by secondhand smoke every year, most of them have never smoked a day in their life. Thankfully this statistic is a shrinking trend and more people are quitting than ever before. In 2011, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) performed a poll and found that about 18 percent of all adults in America smoke, a number that was over 40 percent in the 1960s. Although the negative effects of smoking tobacco have been known now for decades, knowledge about how your smoking affects others is a more recent development.
Surgeon General Warnings about Secondhand Smoke
Since 1964, when the first ever negative effects of tobacco smoking were reported by then Surgeon General, D. Luther Terry, 34 additional reports have been issued from the office about the harm of smoking. These reports have included some interesting facts about secondhand smoke and its devastating potential:
- It kills adults and children that don’t smoke.
- It causes disease in adults and children who don’t smoke.
- All interaction with secondhand smoke is harmful in any quantity or frequency.
- Living with a smoker increases your chance of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
Sidestream Smoke from the End of a Cigarette
Studies have also analyzed the difference between the smoke that emits from the end of a cigarette (sidestream smoke) and the smoke that is exhaled (mainstream smoke). A recent study by Philip Morris, the parent company of Marlboro Cigarettes, found that sidestream smoke is much more hazardous than mainstream smoke. The study noted that sidestream smoke was four times as toxic in overall particle matter, three times more toxic by weight and up to six times more cancerous than mainstream smoke. There are multiple possible reasons for these results. First, sidestream smoke is not filtered before emitted like mainstream smoke is in cigarettes with filters. And secondly, the particles are usually smaller, which leads to them getting lodged in the lungs more easily.
Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Children
Children are by far the most affected by secondhand smoke. Smoke affects them more due to their lungs not being fully developed and unable to fight off the toxins in the smoke. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 150,000 and 300,000 cases of lower respiratory infections in children can be attributed to secondhand smoke every year. The EPA also stated that 200,000 to 1,000,000 asthmatic children suffer more from exposure to secondhand smoke. The most disturbing statistic is the increase in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) among children exposed to maternal smoking, which is estimated to account for 21 percent for all SIDS cases.
Smoking kills you and those around you. Nearly 500,000 die from smoking-related disease and illness every year in the United States. If you smoke and are looking to quit, here are some tips to get you started. If you’ve quit and are now looking for treatment of your lung disease, stem cell therapy may be an option. Contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.