Harmful Effects of Secondhand Smoke| Why is it Called a Silent Killer| Expert Reveals

Secondhand smoke or passive smoking is the smoke emitted from the burning end of a cigarette, bidi or water-pipe which is exhaled by a smoker and inhaled by a nonsmoker. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 toxic chemicals and there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.Also Read – Beware! Smoking cigarettes can make you diabetic


Passive smokers or secondhand smokers, like active smokers, are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, pulmonary diseases and lung cancer. Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can damage the lining of blood vessels and cause blood platelets to become stickier and these changes can cause a heart attack.


Dr Vishal Rao, Director, Head Neck Surgical Oncology & Robotic Surgery, Centre of Academics & Research, HCG says, “There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, but many people don’t know about this invisible killer. Evidence suggests that secondhand smoking is significantly associated with an increased risk of a variety of diseases and health problems, particularly those that affect children, which makes it as dangerous as firsthand smoking.”

Dr Vishal added, “Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke causes cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and lung cancer. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25%-30% and lung cancer by 20%-30%. Exposure to secondhand smoke raises the risk of lower respiratory tract infections in young children, asthma in both adults and children, and ischemic heart disease and lung cancer in adults.”


Vaishakhi Mallik, Associate Director, Policy Advocacy and Communication, Vital Strategies said, “According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), India, 2017, there has been a reduction in exposure to secondhand smoke in India since 2009-2010 (the time of the last GATS India report), but a large proportion of adults and children are still exposed to this invisible killer. Exposure to secondhand smoke in public spaces decreased from 29% to 23% and exposure in the home decreased from 52% to 39%, but exposure in the workplace rose from 29.9% to 30.2%. Fully comprehensive smoke-free laws, with no exemptions, are effective in protecting smokers and nonsmokers. In order to reduce tobacco use in India, it is important to adopt lifesaving policies that reach hundreds of millions of people.”

“To protect people from secondhand smoke exposure, it is important to generate conversations about not only the health risks of smoking but also the deadly effects of secondhand smoke. On one hand, it is key to sensitize smokers on the serious diseases they may be extending to the people around them including their loved ones, on the other hand it is important to make nonsmokers aware of their right to health as outlined in smoke-free laws,” Vaishakhi Mallik added.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *