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The Toxic Risks of Passive Smoking

The Toxic Risks of Passive Smoking

Smoking not only affects smokers but also put nonsmokers at risk of health problem. The people around individuals that smoke are exposed to greater danger as a result of smoke exhaled by a person or emitted by a burning cigarette. The unintentional breathing of passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke is what is referred to as passive smoking.  According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006), secondhand smoke has a similar effect on people as tobacco smokers. Passive smoking is associated with increased cases of lung cancer, asthma, reduced life expectancy, cardiovascular problem and miscarriage among pregnant mothers.

One of the dangerous risks of passive smoking is the hazard it exposes to unborn babies. According to the Australian Government (n.d), passive smoking among expectant mother affects the development of the unborn baby. The smoke a mother inhales goes through the mother’s bloodstream and to the unborn through the umbilical cord. Also, passive smoke is known to pass through breast milk unto the child. The exposure of unborn children to secondhand smoking increases the risk of sudden death syndrome, the risk of miscarriage and cases of low birth weight (Australian Government, n.d). Larsdson et al. (2003), associate secondhand smoking to cases of asthma in adults. The authors indicate that mothers exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy have children who contract asthma later in their life. Also, passive smoking also causes asthma in adults.

Passive smoking is known to cause acute irritation in the lower and upper area of the airways of people presumed to be healthy (Australian Government, n.d). In addition, secondary smoking worsens the health condition of people with preexisting breathing complications. The harmful compound in tobacco smoke such as Sulphur, ammonia, and formaldehyde irritate not only the airwave but also the lungs, eyes, nose and the throat (Australian Government, n.d). These substances are known to cause a respiratory problem such as bronchitis. Epidemiologic research indicates that passive smoking weakens the immune system and leave individuals with susceptibility to respiratory diseases (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006). For example, passive smokers have been found to suffer from cold and flu more often.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006), indicate that secondhand smoke as a result of passive smoking exposes people to carcinogenic agents that cause lung and throat cancer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006), suggests that the increased cases of tumor among smokers are associated with tobacco smoke, and thus, passive smokers too are at risk of suffering from cancer of mouth, throat, and lungs.  Tobacco smoke contains DNA-damaging compounds that necessitate multiple genetic changes that result in cancer (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006). Passive smoking has caused more death than other communicable diseases in the recent years. The acquaintance to dangerous compounds increases the risk of death among passive smokers.

The exposure to secondhand smoke is known to cause health challenges to nonsmokers. The increased cases of lung infections such as asthma, bronchitis, lung and throat cancer, and stillbirth among pregnant women have been associated with passive smoke. Secondhand smoke contains chemicals such as Sulphur, ammonia, and formaldehyde which are known to cause irritation to humans. Also, tobacco smoke has been found to contain carcinogen compounds that alter DNA composition necessitating the development of tumor among passive smokers. Thus, secondhand smoking is as dangerous as smoking and diminishes the capability of the body to fight infectious lung diseases. Lastly, passive smoking reduces the life expectancy of the affected individuals.


Australian Government (n.d). The dangers of passive smoking. Retrieved from$File/tobpass.pdf

Larsson et al. (2003). Passive smoking and respiratory symptoms in the FinEsS Study. European Respiratory Journal 21, 672-676.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006). The health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke: A report of the surgeon general. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from

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