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What is passive smoking? Definition and explanations

Today, everyone is informed about the dangers of smoking on health. Indeed, smoking can cause various diseases, respiratory problems, dental problems, heart disease and increased blood pressure, and it can even lead to cancers.

However, it should be noted that even people who do not smoke are not immune to the dangers of smoking. Indeed, it is passive smoking, its consequences can be disastrous for the person who suffers it. In this article, we explain what a passive smoker is and what the health risks of passive smoking are.


What is passive smoking?

Passive smoking is considered the primary culprit of domestic pollution, it is also the most dangerous form. Indeed, you should know that being exposed to cigarette smoke for a long time in a place that you frequent often is more harmful to your health than air pollution.

Passive smoking concerns non-smokers, according to numerous studies, when they are continuously exposed to cigarette smoke, they can develop several cardiovascular disorders, respiratory infections, asthma, and even lung cancer.

Passive smoking disorders mainly occur when the non-smoker directly inhales large amounts of cigarette smoke. This can for example happen when a smoker smokes a cigarette at home when the windows are closed.

When a person smokes a cigarette, there are three types of smoke:

  • Primary smoke: this is the smoke inhaled by the smoker himself. Even if it passes through a filter, 4,000 toxic components can pass, therefore 50 known to be carcinogenic.
  • Environmental smoke: this is the smoke expressed by the smoker, but also that which emerges from the cigarette. The latter is very toxic because it does not pass through a filter.
  • Third-hand smoke: these are small particles that stick to clothing and furniture. They represent a real danger for babies and young children.

What is a passive smoker?

A passive smoker is simply someone who is exposed to tobacco, but who is not a smoker. She breathes in, involuntarily, all the cigarette smoke. A passive smoker is 25% more likely to develop various pathologies such as heart disease and asthma.

Cigarette smoke is very dangerous, and this, from the first seconds of exposure. In fact, tobacco contains hundreds of chemicals that are very toxic to the human body. 50 of these products are known to be carcinogenic.

All passive smokers are exposed to the risks associated with cigarette smoke. However, fragile subjects, such as children, newborns, pregnant women and the elderly are more exposed to the dangers of passive smoking.

passive smoking child

Passive smoking and electronic cigarettes

Nowadays, more and more people have replaced the classic cigarette with the electronic cigarette. Naturally, this is just as dangerous for the health of the smoker, but it represents less risk of passive smoking, because the smoke that emerges is vapor. Even if the vapor is less harmful than the tobacco, it should be known that this one contains various chemical components which can be toxic, especially for the fragile people. It is therefore best to remain vigilant even when using an electronic cigarette.

The health risks of passive smoking

First of all, passive smoking is very disturbing, a non-smoker does not necessarily want to breathe cigarette smoke, because it is very unpleasant.

The first negative health effect of passive smoking is irritation of the upper respiratory tract, especially the sinuses and nose. You will feel discomfort and want to cough more frequently. Then, when the smoke reaches your lungs, you risk developing serious respiratory diseases that can develop into lung cancer, deterioration of the cardiovascular system can also be observed.

Be aware that the dangers of passive smoking are much more serious in infants and young children. Indeed, smoking near an infant increases the risk of sudden and unexplained death. Children whose parents smoke at home are more prone to eye, throat and nose irritation and are more likely to develop ear infections and nasopharyngitis. They are also more likely to develop severe forms of asthma, as well as respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

The risks of passive smoking on pregnant women

A pregnant woman is quite fragile, which is why she is more likely to suffer the negative effects of exposure to cigarette smoke. In addition, tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, in addition to other toxic substances, this could cause a lack of oxygenation of the fetus.

According to specialists, the risk of the fetus being less oxygenated is very low, but it does exist. This risk increases when the mother-to-be is repeatedly, prolonged and intensely exposed to cigarette smoke. It is for this reason that you must be careful if you are pregnant and stay away from areas where there are smokers. If your spouse smokes at home, they should get into the habit of smoking outside or leaving the windows open to limit the risks.

It is important to remember that cigarettes contain more than 4,000 toxic products, smoking when you are pregnant is more serious than passive smoking. Indeed, this can present many risks for the health of the future baby, and even for the course of the pregnancy.

passive smoking children

Fight passive smoking

If you are a smoker, in order to avoid exposing others, especially fragile people and children, to the consequences of tobacco, it is best to always smoke outside, in a space where ventilation is available as on a balcony or in a garden. If a couple of smokers are expecting a baby, the mother-to-be will have to stop smoking in order to preserve her health and that of the baby, the partner will also have to stop smoking in order not to expose her child to smoke.

Fighting passive smoking is done by becoming aware, non-smokers can do nothing but stay away from people who smoke. Fortunately, nowadays, we notice that smokers systematically distance themselves from others, especially children, in order to smoke. If you are a smoker and you live with non-smokers, get into the habit of not smoking at home to protect their health.

In order to fight against passive smoking, the Evin law was implemented in 1991, which formally prohibits smoking in various public places, workplaces and transport. In order to smoke, a person will need to go to a specific place to smoke. This law also prohibits smoking while driving a car, the driver risks a fine of 35 euros in the event of non-compliance.

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