Passive smoking – Are you dying a second hand death?

Passive smoking – Are you dying a second hand death?

Passive smoking

Benzene, benzopyrene, 3-butadiene are just different names for some of the things you could die of. These substances, found in second hand smoke, can reach you even in non-smoking areas. If you are a non-smoker, the bad news is that you could still end up dead from passive smoking.

Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, adopted by all WHO Member States in May 2003, reads:

“Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke:

  1. Parties recognize that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease, and disability.
  2. Each Party shall adopt and implement in areas of existing national jurisdiction as determined by national law and actively promote at other jurisdictional levels the adoption and implementation of effective legislative, executive, administrative and/or other measures, providing for protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places, and, as appropriate, other public places.”

Just when you thought to be non-smoker is a happy place to be, they have to ruin it for you, don’t they? A recent WHO report now tells us that second hand smoke or passive smoking as it is called is about as dangerous as the real thing.

Tsk, tsk, you may as well die smoking then, right? It won’t be surprising if the anti-smoking lobby takes up issues of smoking on a war footing, for it is no longer restricted to the smoker poisoning his own lungs or burning his own tissues with carcinogenic cigarette smoke, it is now a public concern, a public health issue.

A survey conducted in India by the Ramakrishna Mission came up with some startling facts in relation to smoking. A survey on Tobacco in India came up with interesting data, as there are so many tobacco and cigarette variants in use: right from chewing tobacco to chewing of tobacco in betel leaf (Paan).  The survey touched upon passive smoker as an important factor in tobacco related health conditions and deaths. Second hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and cardiac conditions and is a significant contributor in infant deaths. In children, it can cause brain dysfunction and infections in the middle ear. So, the bottom line is that passive smoking may be more dangerous for infants and women, but men too aren’t exempt from its deadly reach. As someone who doesn’t smoke, being in the company of smokers for extended periods could expose you to the following health risks:

  1. Passive smoking can lead to throat and respiratory disorders.
  2. Bronchial Infections and asthma.
  3. Suffocation.
  4. Irritability.
  5. Headaches and sinuses.
  6. Heart conditions.

How to avoid second hand smoke?

The bad news is that you can’t really be completely free of the dangers of passive smoking unless, of course, every government in the world were serious enough to stop being a part in mass murder!

That is quite unlikely, considering the revenues that ‘black gold’ or tobacco generates every year. The tobacco traders and manufacturers, collectively referred to as the tobacco lobby, are going to make sure it rubbishes the medical consensus about the hazards of tobacco use.

While public safety messages and awareness campaigns have encouraged a lot of people to give up smoking in recent years, aided by a zero tolerance towards smoking in public places and offices in most civilized countries, still a lot remains to be done to ensure that our planet is fully rid of the tobacco menace.

If you are a nonsmoker and if your friends or colleagues light up in front of you, then you do reserve the right to tell them to stop. Don’t mince words when it comes to putting up your objections. During hospital visits, make sure you don’t allow a smoker anywhere near a critical patient. As far as neo-natal clinics are concerned, this is absolutely imperative. You might end up losing a lot of your smoker friends that way, but that’s better than losing your life, isn’t it? Some others might feel that you are over-reacting or are a wee bit on the paranoid side. You will have to either inform them of the hazards or leave them to find out the hard way.

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