Dr. Samir Chaukkar
Second hand smoke is defined as the smoke which is exhaled by the smoker plus the smoke created by the smoldering of a lit cigarette. Second hand smoke is full of toxins, and is dangerous to anyone who breathes it in.
The poisons and carcinogens in ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke)are responsible for a whole host of smoking-related illnesses and deaths, worldwide. The report concludes that there is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. The only way to avoid the risks is to avoid breathing it in…period.
The good news is that the risk to nonsmokers from second hand smoke is controllable, and the report’s strong recommendation is to limit smoking to outdoor places only. Smoking in a separate room in the house or at work isn’t enough. The toxic smoke taints indoor air and still puts occupants at risk.
• Nonsmokers who are exposed to tobacco smoke at home or at work have a 25 – 30 percent greater risk for heart disease and 20 – 30 percent greater risk for lung cancer.
• Even brief exposure to second hand smoke for those at high risk for heart disease is dangerous. Carmona recommends never smoking around sick relatives.
“The debate is over.” Carmona says, “The science is clear. Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance but a serious health hazard.”
The Risks of Second Hand Smoke to a Child
- Low birthweight for gestational age
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)- children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have an increased risk of SIDS.
- The EPA estimates that passive smoking is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 of these infections in children under 18 months annually
- Asthma – According to the EPA, between 200,000 and 1,000,000 kids with asthma have their condition worsened by second hand smoke every year. Also, passive smoking may also be responsible for thousands of new cases of asthma every year
- Chronic respiratory symptoms such as cough and wheezing may be attributed to second hand smoke.
- Children who breathe in second hand smoke are more likely to suffer from dental cavities, eye and nose irritation, and irritability
- Middle ear infections – exposure to ETS causes buildup of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in 700,000 to 1.6 million physician office visits yearly
How Second Hand Smoke Can Affect the Heart
- Heart disease mortality – an estimated 35,000 to 62,000 deaths are caused from heart disease in people who are not current smokers, but who are exposed to ETS
- Acute and chronic coronary heart disease
- Passive smoking has been linked to the narrowing of the carotid arteries, which carry blood to the brain
- Exposure to second hand smoke hastens hardening of the arteries, a condition known as artherosclerosis
- Continual exposure to ETS has been shown to nearly double the chance of heart attack
Second Hand Smoke – Worse Than We Thought
Second hand smoke is serious business, and should be a concern for anyone who breathes it in. Non-smokers inhaling second hand smoke share some of the health risks smokers face. But smokers do face the worst of it – the risks of smoking are compounded by breathing the smoke in for a second time.
Don’t underestimate the dangers of ETS. While second hand smoke may not kill as many people as smoking does, it is toxic and claims thousands of lives every year around the world.
A pesticide is defined as a chemical used to kill pests – usually insects. Pesticides are toxic and if we use them on our lawns or gardens, we’re careful to avoid direct contact if possible. We certainly wouldn’t knowingly breathe pesticides into our lungs, yet that is exactly what smokers do every time they take a puff of a cigarette.
Researchers at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden Colorado have recently identified three previously undetected pesticides in cigarette smoke.
The pesticides are:
- Flumetralin – This chemical is known to be toxic to humans, and is carcinogenic. It’s an endocrine disruptor, and its use on tobacco plants has been banned in Europe.
- Pendimethalin – Another endocrine disrupter that targets the thyroid specifically.
- Pendimethalin is carcinogenic and toxic to humans.
- Trifluralin – Like the other two pesticides mentioned, trifluralin is an endocrine disrupter, is toxic to humans and is carcinogenic.
These pesticides find their way into cigarettes because they’re used on tobacco plants growing in the fields.
Endocrine glands produce hormones which regulate reproduction, growth and development in humans and animals. Endocrine disrupters are chemicals that interfere with this natural process by mimicking or blocking normal hormone function.
With the use of electron micrometer mass-spectrometry on a variety of smoke samples from both experimental and commercial cigarettes, the scientists were able to see the chemical makeup of the 3 substances and identify them as dinitroaniline pesticides. They also discovered that these 3 pesticides are present in both mainstream smoke and sidestream smoke, and survive the combustion process in levels as high as 10 percent of the original residue left on tobacco.
“No information exists for long-term low-level inhalation exposures to these compounds, and no data exists to establish the possible synergistic effect of these pesticides with each other, or with the other 4,700-plus compounds that have been identified in tobacco smoke.” said Kent Voorhees, researcher and co-author of the study The Detection of Nitro Pesticides in Mainstream and Sidestream Cigarette Smoke Using Electron Monochromator-Mass Spectrometry, published online in the American Chemical Society Journal, Analytical Chemistry.
4. Steps to Defeating the Urge to Smoke
Quitting tobacco is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but compared to the amount of time most of us spent smoking, recovery can be very quick, indeed.
Years of smoking taught us to react to literally everything by lighting a cigarette. When we were happy, we’d celebrate by lighting up. When we got angry, smoking would calm us down, or so we thought. Tired? Smoke a cigarette to stay awake. Hungry? Feed yourself a smoke. This list goes on. Between the physical addiction to nicotine, and the mental associations that tie what seems like all of our activities to cigarettes, it can feel as though we’re chained to the habit with links of steel.
Successful recovery from this addiction includes learning how to hear the message behind the urge to smoke and respond with more appropriate choices, such as a nap or a meal, for instance. Have patience with yourself! This new skill takes some time to hone, but you’ll get better at it. Eventually, cigarettes will fade as a trigger, and you’ll make choices based on what you really need without thinking twice about it.
Memorize the meaning of this acronym: H.A.L.T.(Hungry,Angry,Lonely,Tired), and you’ll have a powerful checklist to help you decode the urges you experience. Nine times out of ten, a craving can be traced to one of these four things:
Have a snack or a meal. If you are hungry, food is the answer, not a cigarette! If you’re concerned about weight gain, try drinking water to help control between meal eating. Have healthy snacks on hand also. Celery sticks, raw baby carrots and frozen grapes make good low calorie snacks.
Normal weight gain due to quitting is 5-8 pounds. Metabolism does slow a bit, so getting some daily exercise is a good idea. Take a look at Weight Gain FAQ’s for answers to weight gain questions. Also read Maia’s Six Month Milestone for a first-hand perspective on this issue from someone with six months smoke free under her belt.
The bottom line is this: don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to eat in moderation, but until you get your quit program under solid control, don’t fret if you gain a few pounds. Quitting tobacco should be in the top slot of your priority list for as long as it takes. Weight can always be lost later.
Defeat Triggers with Knowledge
This is a big trigger for most of us. Find healthy outlets for your feelings of frustration – if at all possible, try to deal with the situation that is bothering you head on, and be done with it. Talk to friends and family about your feelings or write in your journal. The important thing is not to let anger simmer and get the upper hand. Reaching for a cigarette can seem like a quick fix, but it’s always a false fix. Smoking will put you back to square one and you’ll be disappointed in yourself as well.
We may not always be able to choose the events that happen around us, but we will always have the choice of how we let external situations affect us emotionally. This is important! If you’re mad, you have the power to change that negative feeling in an instant. Instant Stress Busters provides some great tips to help you improve your mood.
Positive self-talk is another way to pull yourself out of the doldrums. Use affirmations to help you create the reality you want for yourself. We have a way of taking actions which are in line with our beliefs, so what you tell yourself matters – a lot. Make affirmations empowering and keep them in the here and now. Instead of saying: “I will be a healthy nonsmoker”, say it this way: “I AM a healthy nonsmoker.” Rather than saying “I have to quit smoking”, tell yourself, “I get to quit smoking”. Minor shifts in attitude can make a world of difference.
Education is also a powerful ally – the more you learn about the effects of tobacco, the less value cigarettes will have for you. Learn to hate the habit, and you’ll have leverage to help you become smoke free and stay that way for good.
Another word to describe this could be bored. Take a look at 101 Things to Do Instead of Smoking. This list comes from forum members who are all in the process of quitting themselves. Early on in cessation, distraction is a useful tool. If you’re bored, try redirecting your attention, and see if it helps.
Depression also falls under this category, and can affect anyone. People quitting tobacco are especially susceptible, at least early on, because leaving cigarettes behind can feel like the loss of a friend. My Darling… was one quitter’s way of saying goodbye to the habit that was killing her. Ten Healthy Actions to get Yourself out of a Funk is a great article from About Guide to Holistic Healing, Phylameana lila Deasy. If you feel yourself slipping into a depressed state, take action. Change your environment and it will usually change your attitude.
Fatigue can be a huge trigger. Instead of lighting up, give yourself time to slow down and relax a little, or even go to bed early if you need to. Sounds so simple, yet people often push themselves too far with all of the demands of life these days. Be aware. Don’t let yourself get rundown. Protect your quit by protecting your health, both physically, and mentally.
It may feel like you’ll never be free of cigarettes and thoughts of smoking will always plague you, but have some faith in yourself, and please be patient. We taught ourselves to smoke, and we can teach ourselves to forget it too. Give yourself time to retrain and get some practice at living your life smoke free. Soon enough, it will seem the most natural thing in the world. You’ll get to the point where you’ll wonder why you didn’t quit sooner, because life without cigarettes has become so easy for you. In the meantime, remember H.A.L.T.
Developing Will and Determination
Nicotine is a powerful addiction. If you’ve tried to quit smoking and failed, you know how tough it is. Just thinking about quitting is enough to make most smokers edgy. It’s been said the psychological, or mental side of nicotine addiction is more difficult to beat than cocaine or heroin. If you’re in the position of wanting to quit and not being able to, I’m sure you would agree with that.
Quitting is very possible though, and thousands do it successfully every year.
How do other people do it? More importantly, how can you do it? What is the trick to getting the motivation to quit and stick with it no matter what? Does it just magically come to a person when they’re “ready” to quit smoking?
If you rely on being “ready” before you quit smoking, you run the risk of never quitting.
Even people who are ready when they quit, often return to smoking before a year has passed.
Statistics tell us that approximately 7% of those who quit without support are still smoke free at the end of the first year.
Those aren’t great odds. With education and a solid source of support in place though, the rate of success climbs dramatically.
To create the will and determination you must have to succeed, start by learning what quitting tobacco is all about. Discover what you can do to prepare, and find out how others have done it, or are doing it.
Successful cessation doesn’t happen by accident.
They say knowledge is power, and it’s certainly true. The more you learn about how to quit, the more power you’ll have. That power translates to control when you’re 10 days into cessation and craving like crazy. You’ll have the means to deal with those cravings. You’ll know to expect the occasional bad day, and what you can do about it. You’ll know where to go for help.
Lay your foundation.
Empower yourself with knowledge.
You’ll be rewarded with increased motivation and will.
Make it happen!
Believe in the process of quitting tobacco, and believe in yourself. Remember, you can do this just as well as the next person. Those who have quit successfully don’t have any secret power that you don’t possess.
Review your reasons to quit smoking.
- You’ll live longer and the quality of life will be much better
- You will lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD
- You will help your loved ones health by not polluting the air they breathe
- You’ll have more energy and stamina
- You’ll have a lot more money to spend in better ways than on cigarettes
- You won’t have to live with the guilt and fear that smoking breeds
Start writing. A quit smoking journal is a tool that’s worth it’s weight in gold. Your reasons to quit are a great way to get your diary underway. Use it also to answer some questions:
- If you’ve quit smoking before, what worked well for you and what didn’t?
- What improvements and changes can you make?
- What will be your most challenging situations, and how do you plan to handle them?
- What can you do to change your environment to promote breaking the associations you have to smoking?
- What do you like about smoking?
- What do you hate about your addiction?
- Who can you count on for support?
- What benefits do you envison in your smoke free life?
Set your quit smoking date. Pick the day you plan to quit. Put some thought into it by considering the following:
- Make the date within the next couple of weeks. Any longer than that, and you may lose enthusiasm.
- Choose a time when you will have the least amount of stress around you.
- Clear a path for a few days of free time if you can. Those first few days are tough, and if you don’t have obligations and can focus on pampering yourself, it will help.
Some people prefer to be busy when they first quit to keep them distracted and moving through the withdrawal phase. Some prefer to sleep it away. It’s a matter of personal preference, really, but be prepared to do whatever you need to do to make yourself more comfortable. If that means taking a sick day and staying in bed, so be it. The symptoms of early withdrawal are intense, but short-lived.
Lay the foundation for a solid, well thought out cessation program. Don’t let the process of recovering from nicotine addiction scare you! Quitting can be done, and you’ll love the person you become without the chains of addiction weighing you down.
What I Liked vs. What I Hated…
What I Liked about Smoking:
- The bonding I experienced with other smokers.
- The feeling of creating a ritual.
- Watching the cigarette burn, and watching the smoke swirl.
- Momentary gratification.
Hated about Smoking:
- The after-smell on my clothes, furniture, car, house, everything, yuck.
- Not being able to breathe properly.
- The constant, nagging cough.
- Lots of phlegm, lots of throat-clearing, and losing my voice mid-sentence.
- Painful heartburn every night and every time I drank coffee.
- Feeling winded after extremely mild activity.
- Severe throbbing headaches, occasional migraines.
- Lingering colds and bronchitis.
- Racing heartbeat, more sweating.
- Increased rate of hypertension.
- Dizziness after smoking too fast or too many cigarettes.
- Nausea from smoking too much.
- The constant coppery, ashy taste in my mouth.
- Yellow skin, teeth and fingernails.
- Scaly, unhealthy-feeling skin.
- Anxiety from the fear of what I was doing to myself, and the consequences.
- No relaxation, always feeling in need of something. A constant feeling of not being satisfied.
- Mini-withdrawals throughout the day.
- Feelings of shame while spending time with non-smokers.
- Not accomplishing tasks because of wasted time smoking.
- The late-evening/middle-of-the-night trip to the gas station.
- Going out in bad weather to smoke alone.
- Feelings of inadequacy and substance dependence.
- Driving my cat out of the room every time I lit up.
- Dry mouth and constant feelings of thirst.
- Coughing so hard that I made myself sick.
- Trembling hands and fingertips.
- Fear. Of being unable to quit, of dying an untimely, painful death.
- The stinging feeling in my lungs when I tried to take a deeper or slower breath.
- Getting smoke in my eyes.
- Burning my lips on the filter.
- Trying to light short butts, and feeling my eyebrows singe. Ouch!
- Re-lighting a previously torched cigarette, so I don’t “waste” any tobacco.
- Overflowing ashtrays, ashes and dust everywhere.
- Burn holes in my car upholstery, and on my clothes.
- “Will I fall asleep smoking?”
- “Will I catch something on fire?”
- Dry, chapped lips.
- The cost. All that money wasted on ruining my health and well-being.
- My nails and hair grew very slowly.
- Smoking so young probably stunted my growth during puberty.
- It fueled my compulsiveness relating to other bad habits, such as nail-biting, and binge-eating.
- Having to reapply my lipstick after smoking.
- The filthy taste of cheap tobacco.
- Having to crack the car window in the pouring rain. Wet leg, wet arm, water in my eyes.
- Tar build-up on windows and furniture.
- The way my hair and skin smelled.
- Limited motivation and energy.
- Spilled tobacco in my purse, on my dresser, on my computer desk.
- Lighting the filter end by mistake…
- Dropping a cigarette while driving.
- Trying to tap my ashes out the car window…while the window is rolled up.
- Dropping hot ashes or losing the tip of a cigarette.
- Oops! Tapped ashes in my drink.
- Feeling “exiled” in the smoking section/smoking room.
- Dulled sense of taste and smell.
Health Effects of Smoking Among Young People
- Among young people, the short-term health consequences of smoking include respiratory and nonrespiratory effects, addiction to nicotine, and the associated risk of other drug use. Long-term health consequences of youth smoking are reinforced by the fact that most young people who smoke regularly continue to smoke throughout adulthood.
- Cigarette smokers have a lower level of lung function than those persons who have never smoked.
- Smoking reduces the rate of lung growth.
- In adults, cigarette smoking causes heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that early signs of these diseases can be found in adolescents who smoke.
- Smoking hurts young people’s physical fitness in terms of both performance and endurance—even among young people trained in competitive running.
- On average, someone who smokes a pack or more of cigarettes each day lives 7 years less than someone who never smoked.2
- The resting heart rates of young adult smokers are two to three beats per minute faster than nonsmokers.
- Smoking at an early age increases the risk of lung cancer. For most smoking-related cancers, the risk rises as the individual continues to smoke.
- Teenage smokers suffer from shortness of breath almost three times as often as teens who don’t smoke, and produce phlegm more than twice as often as teens who don’t smoke.
- Teenage smokers are more likely to have seen a doctor or other health professionals for an emotional or psychological complaint.
- Teens who smoke are three times more likely than nonsmokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviors, such as fighting and engaging in unprotected sex
Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking
The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 22 times higher among men who smoke cigarettes, and about 12 times higher among women who smoke cigarettes compared with never smokers.4
Cigarette smoking increases the risk for many types of cancer, including cancers of the lip, oral cavity, and pharynx; esophagus; pancreas; larynx (voice box); lung; uterine cervix; urinary bladder; and kidney.5
Rates of cancers related to cigarette smoking vary widely among members of racial/ethnic groups, but are generally highest in African-American men.6
Cardiovascular Disease (Heart and Circulatory System)
Cigarette smokers are 2–4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.5
Cigarette smoking approximately doubles a person’s risk for stroke.4,7
Cigarette smoking causes reduced circulation by narrowing the blood vessels (arteries). Smokers are more than 10 times as likely as nonsmokers to develop peripheral vascular disease.8
Respiratory Disease and Other Effects
Cigarette smoking is associated with a ten-fold increase in the risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease.4 About 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung diseases are attributable to cigarette smoking.
Cigarette smoking has many adverse reproductive and early childhood effects, including an increased risk for infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Postmenopausal women who smoke have lower bone density than women who never smoked. Women who smoke have an increased risk for hip fracture than never smokers.
Harmful Effects Of Smoking
Cigarettes and more specifically tobacco smoke are full of chemicals and poisons. As you discovered in our chemicals in cigarettes section tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which make smoking harmful.
Effects of Tobacco Smoke
- Smoking KILLS
- Every year hundreds of thousands of people around the world die from diseases caused by smoking.
- One in two lifetime smokers will die from their habit. Half of these deaths will occur in middle age.
- Tobacco smoke also contributes to a number of cancers.
- The mixture of nicotine and carbon monoxide in each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure, straining your heart and blood vessels.
- This can cause heart attacks and stroke. It slows your blood flow, cutting off oxygen to your feet and hands. Some smokers end up having their limbs
- Tar coats your lungs like soot in a chimney and causes cancer. A 20-a-day smoker breathes in up to a full cup (210 g) of tar in a year.
- Changing to low-tar cigarettes does not help because smokers usually take deeper puffs and hold the smoke in for longer, dragging the tar deeper into their lungs.
- Carbon monoxide robs your muscles, brain and body tissue of oxygen, making your whole body and especially your heart work harder. Over time, your airways swell up and let less air into your lungs.
- Smoking causes disease and is a slow way to die. The strain put on your body by smoking often causes years of suffering. Emphysema is an illness that slowly rots your lungs. People with emphysema often get bronchitis again and again, and suffer lung and heart failure.
- Lung cancer from smoking is caused by the tar in tobacco smoke. Men who smoke are ten times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers.
- Heart disease and strokes are also more common among smokers than non-smokers.
- Smoking causes fat deposits to narrow and block blood vessels which leads to heart attack.
- Smoking causes around one in five deaths from heart disease.
Dr. Samir Chaukkar
M.D. P.G.Diploma-Addictions treatment and prevention (Canada)
Consulting Homoeopath and Addictions Counsellor