Short Term Dangers of Passive Smoking

by Eric Hartwell - Date: 2007-02-22 - Word Count: 333 Share This!

Passive smoking is also known as secondhand smoking, involuntary smoking, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke - or ETS. Eighty-five percent of ETS is made up of sidestream smoke - the smoke that is exhaled by a smoker or released from the burning tip of a cigarette or any tobacco product. The health effects of passive smoking are various but not trivial. They range from eye irritation to aggravation of asthma and allergies to cancer. Although they have not been established as the main cause, there is an association between certain diseases and exposure to ETS.

Short-term effects

The short-term effects of passive smoking are usually associated with induced or exacerbated asthma and allergy attacks. This is because tobacco smoke is an allergen. A sizeable number of non-smokers complain of headache, eye irritation, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat, cough, and other respiratory tract infections upon exposure to sidestream smoke or ETS. In almost all cases, eye irritation was observed to be the main symptom upon exposure to cigarette smoke.

People with allergies may experience the following: watery or irritated eyes, itchy or runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, a suffocating feeling, and other typical allergy symptoms just minutes of getting exposed. Some with no record of allergies or asthma may suddenly cough in smoke-filled quarters. Others get headaches, feel nauseas, sleepy, and experience other ill effects, when in the absence of smoke they would not exhibit these symptoms. It can also induce cravings for those who are in the process of quitting smoking.

In persons with asthma, an attack can be induced or the current condition exacerbated by being exposed to ETS, or faster with sidestream smoke. Some have reported cases where a considerable decline in lung function occurred in adults with asthma.

An effect on the heart of passive smokers has also been observed and measured. Just a thirty minute exposure to tobacco smoke can reduce coronary blood flow.

The short-term effects of passive smoking may cease when exposure ends. But repeated short-term and prolonged exposure may cause serious long-term effects.

Related Tags: quit smoking, smoking, stop smoking, smokers, passive smoking

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