Is secondhand smoke as dangerous as active smoking? Let’s find out

Smoking is harmful, whether you are an active smoker or not. Know the side effects of secondhand smoking on your health.
Woman sitting near a smoker
A mother-to-be should not just avoid smoking, but also passive smoking. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 18 Feb 2022, 11:00 am IST
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Do you smoke? If not, have you ever thought of the side-effects of inhaling the smoke from someone else’s cigarette? Well, if you’re spending your time with a person who smokes, you’re ultimately a secondhand smoker. Secondhand smoke (SHS) occurs when someone is inhaling cigarette smoke from their surroundings, instead of inhaling the smoke from direct exposure to cigarettes or tobacco.

Smoking and chewing tobacco both are dangerous for your health. But you know the worst part? It doesn’t matter if you’re an active smoker or inhaling the smoke through someone else – it will impact your body in the same manner.

side effects of secondhand smoke
Stay away from a smoker. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Let’s hear an expert tell us more about secondhand smoke

“Generally, secondhand smoke is the smoke that we inhale unknowingly. When somebody near you smokes, the smoke goes into the lungs,” shares Dr Avi Kumar, Consultant Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla, New Delhi, with HealthShots.

Side effects of secondhand smoking

Secondhand smoke is as dangerous as first hand smoke, because the smoke is going into the lungs in both cases. It can increase the risk of several diseases such as:

* Allergies
* Asthma
* Chronic diseases like chronic obstructive lung diseases
* Lung cancer (if this exposure continues to be long term)
* Disturbed menstrual cycle
* Poor oral health
* Breathing issues
* Heart diseases such as stroke

Allergies due to smoking may result in itching in the eyes, nose blockages, ear fullness, sinusitis, and rhinitis. Moreover, if a pregnant lady is exposed to secondhand smoke, it will increase the risk for premature birth, causing low birth weight babies and stunted growth in many of the babies.

side effects of secondhand smoke
Break up with smoking to keep cancer risk at bay! Image: Shutterstock

Don’t fall for these myths about secondhand smoke:

Myth 1: Secondhand smoking is safe

Fact: No, it’s as dangerous as active smoking.

Myth 2: You will not be able to inhale smoke if someone else is smoking around you

Fact: If a person is smoking close to you and you are in the same room, you are likely to inhale the smoke.

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Also, read: Ditch smoking right away to reduce your lung cancer risk

Myth 3: Using an air purifier will protect you from secondhand smoking

Fact: Using an air purifier will help you remove the smell of cigarette smoke, but not the harmful chemicals.

All in all, secondhand smoking is equally bad as active smoking, and is as harmful for your health.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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