Protecting Yourself from Secondhand Smoke
Most people are aware that smoking can lead to serious health problems, such as lung disease, heart disease, and various forms of cancer. However, some individuals are surprised to learn that breathing secondhand smoke from a burning cigarette, cigar, pipe, or exhaled breath of a smoker is just as dangerous as smoking itself. Even limited exposure to secondhand smoke can cause a number of health problems in both adults and children, such as colds, ear infections, asthma, pneumonia, heart disease, and lung cancer.
Secondhand smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals, including ammonia, carbon monoxide, cyanide, formaldehyde, lead, and polonium (a radioactive substance). These toxins can linger in the air for hours, and their residue clings to clothing, hair, carpeting, and upholstery. Even though you’ve made a conscious and well-informed decision to forego smoking, you can still be exposed to its dangers in public places, in your workplace, and even at home. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from the perils of secondhand smoke:
- Never allow anyone to smoke inside your home. If a guest wants to smoke, ask him or her to step outside. Simply opening a window or using a fan does not provide enough protection to counter the negative effects of the smoke.
- Do not allow smoking in your vehicle. If a passenger wants to smoke, pull over at a rest stop and ask him or her to smoke outside of the car.
- Learn about your state’s laws that restrict smoking in the workplace and, if necessary, ask your employer to enforce them.
- When traveling, request nonsmoking hotel rooms; better yet, stay at smoke-free hotels.
- Patronize businesses that have and enforce smoke-free policies.
- Let the owners of businesses that allow smoking know that the smoke bothers you, and that a “no smoking” section does not provide adequate protection against the hazards of secondhand smoke.
- If someone you care about is a smoker, encourage him or her to quit by offering support and encouragement.
If you have any questions about the effects of secondhand smoke, smoking cessation, or other health-related concerns, please contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and no appointments are necessary.