We may think that in these days of smoking being prohibited in so many public places, the risks of second hand smoke would have become negligible but recent research has shown that this is not so. A CDC study has shown that secondhand smoke in cars is a particular risk, especially to younger people.
The study looked at students’ exposure to secondhand smoke due to traveling with a parent or a friend and found that most kids were exposed to rather a lot of secondhand smoke; even small amounts of which can be risky. Even opening the car window will not protect the other car passengers from this risk, so the CDC has advised that families shouldn’t permit smoking in cars or homes.
Cigarette smoke contains many or all of the harmful chemicals such as benzene, carbon monoxide, chromium, cyanide, formaldehyde, lead, nickel, polonium, etc. and these are bad for people even in very small quantifies because these are not only toxic to health but they are also carcinogenic (known to cause cancer).
The Mayo Clinic has the following advice for those who want to avoid secondhand smoke:
- Have a No Smoking rule indoors. Help and encourage a smoker partner to quit. If you have a guest who wants to smoke, politely inform him about the rule and direct him out of doors.
- Visit only those restaurants that do not allow smoking at all. Who knows how much of the smoke from the smoking segment will waft your way!
- Have a no smoking policy in the car as well which is enforceable for everyone.
- Distance yourself from smokers as far as possible, even if you do have to stay with one.
- Pick no smoking facilities for kids and the elderly to lower their exposure to second hand smoke.
Additionally you can avoid this risk at the work place by choosing not to look the other way about smoking rules in the office. If there are smoking restrictions already in place, make sure that they are enforced. And if such regulations are not in place, campaign to have them created and enforced. Remember ventilation is not an effective enough antidote to second hand smoke.
Also remember that there is a slight danger from third hand smoke. This is from the residue of smoke and chemicals that linger on the skin, clothing or hair of a smoker, furniture and upholstery.