Family Health up in Smoke

If you don’t want to stop smoking for your own health, you might have an incentive to stop smoking if you learn just how your smoking affects those around your smoke such as your family and other loved ones. What’s really worse about second hand smoke than the damage smokers bring on themselves is that so many of the second hand smoke victims are children – those unable to make the decision to avoid the harmful effects of the smoke for themselves. These little folks who depend on your for their health care are the ones most adversely affected because you won’t stop smoking.

Second hand smoke is also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). It is a combination of the smoke that comes from the burning end of your cigarette or other tobacco product, which is called the sidestream smoke and the smoke that is exhaled by the smoker, called mainstream smoke. Over 400 chemicals are part of the mix in secondhand smoke. Over 50 of these chemicals are proven or probable as cancer causing agents in humans. The term for these is carcinogens.

Second hand smoke is everywhere – whether you are home in the presence of a smoker, or in the workplace (though this is becoming increasingly uncommon) and in public places such as restaurants, bars, casinos and bowling alleys. While many U.S. states have begin to outlaw public smoking it’s generally for restaurants where those under 18 are present. Bars are still prime places for secondhand smoke, as are bowling alleys and casinos.

If you don’t stop smoking those who smoke along with you second hand will have an increased lung cancer and heart disease risk. Children will be the ones most negatively affected by this second hand smoke. Kids have lungs that aren’t completely developed as yet and because of this they are far more susceptible to secondhand smoke and it’s negative ramifications. They are also the ones that have absolutely no control of the environment in which you’ve placed their health. Children and infants who are exposed to second hand smokes suffer from sudden infant death syndromes (SIDS), bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma far more often than those who have non-smoking parents and adult family members.

In the U.S. alone 3000 people succumb to lung cancer as a result of secondhand smoke, even though are people who never smoked or stopped smoking. Death by coronary heart disease thanks to second hand smoke occur in 35,000 Americans each year.

Children develop asthma as a result of secondhand smoke at the rate of 8000 to 26,000 each year. Bronchitis numbers are even worse – 150,000-300,000 – and these are children younger than 18 months, up to 15,000 of whom will have to be hospitalized. Only 40 percent of those who don’t smoke or stop smoking have no evidence of bodily harm due to secondhand smoke.

The most disturbing fact about how your failure to stop smoking effects small children is that the median state figure for children in each state affected by secondhand smoke. The highest percentage is found in Kentucky, where more than a third of children are harmed.