4 Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke to Be Aware Of

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Secondhand Smoke

The times they are a changin’, and what used to be stylish — like smoking — is now an outdated trend. Decades of research prove that tobacco cigarettes aren’t just unhealthy; they’re downright deadly.

Even worse, the smoke is dangerous to innocent bystanders. The debate over secondhand smoke and its potential effects continue, with studies conclusively showing the disastrous consequences.

If smoking is your vice, you know how difficult it is to quit the habit. Convincing yourself it’s for your health may not be enough to do the trick. However, when you understand the damage you’re causing to the health of those around you, you might start thinking twice before lighting up.

1. Cardiovascular Disease and Strokes

More non-smokers, including children, are diagnosed with heart problems than ever before. The common denominator in many of these people is their proximity to smokers.

According to the CDC, exposure to secondhand smoke, whether at home or in the workplace, increases a non-smoker’s risk of heart disease by 25-30% and strokes by 20-30%.

This, in turn, boosts the fatality count, as these conditions result in over 8,000 strokes every year.

2. Lung Cancer

Those diagnosed with lung cancer deal with a stigma that other cancers don’t come with: The “you shouldn’t have been smoking” label. But thousands of people with this disease never smoked in their lives.

Secondhand smoke causes over 7,300 deaths from lung cancer in the United States annually. Exposure to these deadly chemicals spikes a non-smoker’s risk of developing the disease by 20-30%.

The prevalence of marijuana has led to numerous studies questioning whether exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke has a similar effect. Because both joints and cigarettes are lit through combustion, they have many of the same chemicals. And if the cannabis is moldy, the user inhales those spores, too.

Currently, long-term research on secondhand cannabis smoke is still in the works. But the best way to prevent lung cancer for you and others nearby is to switch to another form of cannabis consumption. The good news is you have plenty of methods to choose from today.


Infants and toddlers are unable to protect themselves, so they must rely on those around them to do the right thing. As their delicate organs develop, they’re extremely sensitive to germs and toxins, and conditions like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are a serious threat.

The risk is SIDS escalates when little ones are around smokers. Secondhand smoke occurs both in the womb and outside of it. If the mother is exposed to regular secondhand smoke, the baby is, as well.

In fact, statistics show that smoking during pregnancy causes over 1,000 infant fatalities each year. Pregnant mothers exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk of having newborns with health complications.

After birth, infants through the first year who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a high risk of SIDS. SIDS is the main cause of death in infants who are otherwise healthy. The chemicals in the smoke affect the child’s brain, interfering with how it regulates their breathing and causing unexpected and sudden death.

To keep the infants around you safe, don’t smoke while pregnant, and don’t allow others to smoke around you or your child. Your baby should always sleep on their back to prevent suffocation and keep the airways open.

4. Asthma

Asthma is a condition in which the afflicted person has trouble breathing. Even fresh air can be hard for their lungs to inhale, so polluted air is even more concerning.

For the most part, those with asthma can control their condition by learning the triggers — what sets their attacks off — and avoiding them. Tobacco smoke is frequently the trigger for thousands of asthmatics.

Secondhand smoke is nearly impossible to avoid if those around you aren’t cautious about their habit. The toxins in smoke can stay in the air for hours after the smoker is gone and travel up to 20 feet.

Your smoking habit could set off someone’s asthma long after you leave the area. If you have asthma and you’re smoking, you spike your risk of an asthma attack. Over 3,500 asthma-related deaths occur each year in non-smokers and smokers.


You don’t want to hurt other people, yet your smoking habit is doing exactly that. The invisible toxins circulating in the air are dangerous, if not deadly, to strangers and loved ones, causing these four health problems and many more.