Second-Hand Smoke - Is It A Passive Killer?

By Lindsay M Fox

Most people know that smoking

is bad for the health. Cigarette

smoking has been linked with

cancer, heart and lung diseases

as well as strokes. You probably

have given up this habit or

avoided it entirely because of this


However, if you

spend a lot of time in the vicinity

of a person who smokes frequently then you will not be

able to protect yourself from the negative effects of

cigarette smoke. It is an unfortunate fact that all kinds of

cigarette smoke, even secondhand smoke, are

dangerous to the health.

Secondhand smoke from cigarettes is known as a

passive killer because it increases your risk for all the

diseases that regular smokers are susceptible to. It is

shocking to know that passive smokers have a 25

percent higher risk of developing heart disease than

people who are not exposed to any cigarette smoke.

Obviously the risk is less than if you were a regular

smoker, but it exists nonetheless and that too for no fault

of yours.

Three categories of people have to be especially careful

about staying away from secondhand smoke because

they are more vulnerable to its negative effects. They


- Pregnant women: When a pregnant woman inhales

cigarette smoke, it goes into her baby's bloodstream

eventually. This can lead to low birth weight babies who

are at greater risk of having attention deficit disorders

when they are older.

- Children: Kids who grow up in households where

smoking is the norm tend to develop a lot of respiratory

ailments. Not only do these ailments slow down their

physical growth but they also keep them away from

school and other activities longer than necessary. They

are also more likely to start smoking early than kids who

were not exposed to environmental tobacco smoke.

- People suffering from respiratory illnesses: If a person's

lungs and airways are already diseased or inflamed then

exposing them to anything but clean air will worsen the


- People suffering from high blood pressure: Their blood

pressure condition will only worsen if they breathe in air

which has been polluted with tobacco smoke. Inhaling

cigarette smoke results in higher cholesterol levels and

this in turn raises the blood pressure.

As you can see, you do need to stay away from cigarette

smoke in any form in order to look after your health. You

need to be very firm about protecting yourself from this

passive but dangerous killer.