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Smoking-Their Habit Your Risk

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Essay title: Smoking-Their Habit Your Risk

Did you know that 3,000 American non-smokers will die this year from lung cancer? Those deaths are entirely preventable. Their lung cancer is caused by second hand smoke. Second hand smoke is smoke they have breathed in from other people's cigarettes. It is also known as involuntary or passive smoking. There is nothing passive however about the effects of this smoke. It is lethal and it is dangerous. It may give as many as 300,000 children under the age of one and half bronchitis and pneumonia. It could even be responsible for more than 35,000 deaths from heart disease.

There is no one left, even inside the tobacco industry who does not know that smoking causes lung cancer. This fact is indisputable. What is sometimes disputed is the extent to which the smoke from other people's cigarettes damages those around them. Some in the tobacco industry play down this effect. They say that passive smoking is at worst a minor irritant. They say the recorded illness, deaths and cancers of those who have to live and work with smokers is a coincidence. They even have the audacity to suggest that those illnesses may be caused by diet or other environmental factors. Let us look at the facts.

There are two ways in which passive or second hand smoke can affect non- smokers. Mainstream smoke is that smoke that has already been inhaled and then exhaled by the smoker. Sidestream smoke is the smoke that comes off the burning end or tip of the cigarette. Both of these sources are responsible for passive smoke inhaled by non-smokers. Second hand smoke is chemically similar to that inhaled by smokers. After 30 minutes exposure to second-hand smoke the blood flow to the heart is reduced. On top of this a non-smoker who is regularly exposed to second hand smoke has a 20 to 30% increased risk of lung cancer.

Tobacco smoke contains 4,000 chemicals in the form of particles and gases. 200 of those chemicals are very poisons. 43 of those chemicals are proven to cause cancer. This lethal combination is what causes tobacco smoke to be classified as a Group A carcinogen.

Incredibly 85% of the smoke from a cigarette will not be inhaled by the smoker. Instead it will fill up the room. That means only 15% of the smoke from a cigarette is actually inhaled by the person smoking it. On top of this, many of the toxic poisons and gases in sidestream smoke are present in higher quantities than in mainstream smoke. The poisons and irritants can even be inhaled deeply by the passive smoker because the smoke particles are smaller than those in manistream smoke. As a carcinogen, tobacco smoke ranks alongside other cancer causing agents such as asbestos, arsenic, benzene and radon gas. Tobacco smoke is full of carbon monoxide. This is a poisonous gas that inhibits the transportation of oxygen to the body's vital organs.

Coming out of the tip of someone else's cigarette are double the concentrations of nicotine. There are three times the amount of the carcinogen benzo (a) pyrene, five times the amount of carbon monoxide and fifty times the amount of ammonia. On top of this the person quietly puffing away next to you is allowing arsenic, formaldehyde, vinyl chloride and hydrogen cyanide into the air that you are breathing. In despite of this knowledge 43% of children in the US are exposed to second hand smoke in their own homes. Despite the attempts of many places to ban smoking there are still millions of people, who are at risk from the effects of second hand smoke. Many of these will die prematurely.

It is perhaps though in children that we see the most alarming effects of the exposure to second hand smoke. Children's lungs are still developing at their young age. Exposure to second hand smoke means they will have a decreased lung function. A child's airways are also smaller. This means a child will have to breath faster. The result is a child will breath in comparatively more of the poisonous chemicals than an adult in the same room.

Exposure of children to second hand smoke leads to an increase in the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. There are perhaps a million asthmatic children whose aggravated symptoms are as a result of inhaling second hand smoke. The same exposure each year causes as

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