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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.
“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.
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:
* 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.
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.
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.