Secondhand smoke is the sidestream (smoke from the lit end of your cigarette) and smoke you exhale which goes into the air. If anyone is around you, they can then breathe the smoke in themselves (this is also known as passive smoking) which can affect their health.
Secondhand smoke is one of the many reasons people may decide to quit smoking as they are concerned for the health of their family and friends as well as themselves, especially when children are at risk. In this article we’ll discuss some of the dangers of secondhand smoke and what changes you can make to prevent it.
Passive smoking can leave people vulnerable to developing the same health issues as smokers. When you smoke near others, they may experience sore throats, headaches, coughing and suffer irritation to their eyes and nasal passages in the short-term, but here are some of the long-term dangers involved with breathing in secondhand smoke:
If you or someone you know is a smoker and lives with children, they should be encouraged to smoke away from them in order to protect them from developing any diseases or health issues. Moreover, those with existing breathing or heart conditions are also more at risk so it’s important to consider this when smoking in public to help keep everyone safe.
If you are considering stopping smoking (whether that be because you’re worried for those around you or down to other reasons), there are lots of advantages to help motivate you. Those that stop smoking benefit from:
These are just some of the many reasons why you or someone you love should consider stopping smoking. You can find out more on why you should stop smoking here.
E-cigarettes (also known as vapes) don’t produce tobacco smoke so the risks of secondhand smoking mentioned earlier do not apply. Instead, e-cigs produce a vapour but evidence suggests that this is not as harmful as cigarette smoke as it contains very small amounts of nicotine.
That said, there is still limited evidence around the risks associated with vaping so research is still ongoing. You may be advised by a healthcare professional to refrain from vaping around children, babies and pregnant women until we know more about whether there are any health risks associated with e-cigs.
You can read our blog about e-cigarettes and whether vaping is better than smoking for more information.
To prevent secondhand smoke from affecting those around you, you need to ensure that their surroundings are smoke-free. The best way to prevent secondhand smoke would of course be to stop smoking entirely but many smokers may not be ready to take that jump right away; quitting smoking can be challenging as nicotine is addictive so it can take time to wean off of cigarettes at a pace that’s comfortable.
So, if you are not ready to completely stop smoking or you’re looking to smoke less, you can protect others by smoking in an area away from them and never smoke indoors or inside a car. When you feel the need to smoke, take yourself outside away from others and ask any of your visitors who smoke to do the same.
It’s important to remember that even if you do feel as though you are smoking “safely”, secondhand smoke is often invisible and you may not even smell it. Simply smoking by open windows or doorways is not enough as the smoke can travel and even remain in the air for up to five hours.
If you live in Dorset and you’d like support to stop smoking or you know someone who does, we’re here to help!
Here at LiveWell Dorset, our goal is to keep you and your loved ones healthy and we have a friendly team of professional advisors and coaches who can guide you as you try to smoke less and manage your cravings. Simply register or have a chat with us today to start your journey to become smoke-free.