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Over a thousand million people are addicted to tobacco. The ratio of women and young generation in developing countries getting addicted to smoking tobacco is increasing at a greater rate as compared to developed countries. But yes, at the same time, they also intend to quit but are unable to do so. Several people have also chosen for passive smoking in order to avoid direct smoking. But the question concerned here is, is passive smoking equally at risk?

Passive smoking; also called as Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) or Secondhand Smoke (SHS) is the inhalation of smoke produced by burning tobacco by others. Scientific studies clearly indicate that passive smoking directly causes dangerous diseases and disabilities that eventually lead to death. Even occasional exposure to ETS causes health hazards over a period of time. It is observed that for some, especially people who recently quit smoking, passive smoking is an alternative to kill their urge for smoking.
 
“Passive smoking or secondhand smoke is as dangerous as active smoking depending on how much is the passive smoker exposed to smoke. It certainly increases the chance of cancer at the same rate what active smoking does”, doctors explain.  

16 percent increased risk of lung cancer is found among the spouses of non-smokers, estimated in a study. “Secondhand smoke causes same problems as active smoking. Bronchitis, chronic obstructive airway disease, heart diseases, oral cancer, pregnancy related problems like IUGR (Intra uterine growth retardation) are few other issues apart from lung cancer. Also, Smoking by either parent especially by mother increases the risk of asthma in the child” doctors further said. 

Some other evident problems caused due to passive smoking are listed below:

Breast cancer:

ETS increases the chances of breast cancer in younger, primarily premenopausal women by almost 75 percent.

Brain Tumor:

Even if the mother does not smoke, the exposure to passive smoking leads to higher risk in children during pregnancy.

Ear, Nose and Throat:

Inhaling smoke produced by tobacco and its products increases the rate of throat and middle ear problems.

Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC):

Increased RCC risk is noted in a study among non-smokers who are exposed to passive smoking.

Cardiovascular Diseases:

Secondhand smoke is also associated with cardiovascular disease and strokes especially to people at risk.

Dementia and Cognitive Impairment:

Risk of Dementia and Cognitive Impairment increases significantly in adults of age 50 or over due to ETS. 

Tooth Decay:

ETS may also lead to tooth decay in children.
 
As a result of these deadly diseases, our government introduced the idea of ban of smoking in public areas in 2008 which includes roads, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs etc. Even though the ban caused a major difficulty to the smokers but an attractive number was in the list of supporters with almost 70 percent. Special smoking rooms and zones have been made for people to smoke freely which avoids passive smoking for non-smokers.

First Published | 23 June 2015 1:48 PM
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Brain Tumor

Cognitive Impairment

Environmental Tobacco Smoke

ETS

Intra uterine growth retardation

Renal Cell Carcinoma

Second Hand Smoke

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