Secondhand smoking or passive smoking is when non-smokers are involuntary exposed to smoke. Non-smokers who indirectly as breathe in second hand smoke take in nicotine and toxic chemicals, as the same way smokers do, although not to the same extent. Thus, regular exposure to unwanted smoke may lead to serious lung damage hampering its structural and functional integrity. This in turn may give rise to a serious concern as to why one should risk his/her health without even indulging into smoking. As a matter of fact, as such no known level has been specified so far for passive smoking and hence the health risks associated with passive smoking is generally less well known as compared to those of direct smoking.
What are These Health Risks?
It makes you more likely to get lung cancer and many other types of cancers. Smoke also makes your blood stickier and raises your bad LDL cholesterol that damages the lining of your blood vessels. This damage can make you more susceptible to heart attack or stroke. Second hand smoking is also a major cause of concern for chronic COPD. Additionally, risk factors of COPD in non-smokers may be associated with individualized genetic makeup, long-standing asthma, outdoor air pollution (from environment and other sources), environmental smoke exposure (ETS), biomass smoke, occupational exposure, diet, recurrent respiratory infection in early childhood, tuberculosis and so on. Smoking related issues might occur at your workplace or at your home, which is because of any active smoker around you. Any family member can develop health problems related to passive smoking. Making your home smoke free is equally important for non-smokers, as children’s growing bodies are especially sensitive to the toxins released through smoking.
Furthermore, hookah bars are emerging as important destinations for smoke free air efforts in many communities. It has been evident that 50% of smokers develop COPD and more than 20% of COPD-associated morbidity is attributed to passive smoking.
Many states in India have implemented smoke free workplace laws to protect employees and customers to secondhand smoke. However, exceptions in these laws have allowed indoor tobacco smoking hookah lounges to increase rapidly in recent years. As a result indoor air quality of hookah lounges is quite unhealthy and can lead to potential health risk for patrons and employees.
Besides the precautionary measures government is anticipating against passive smoking, there are few tips to minimize the risk of COPD and respiratory related problems. Whether you are a nonsmoker with COPD symptoms, there are steps you can take to manage symptoms and slow down the progression.
- Take your medications. If you have COPD, your doctor likely will put you on a course of medication to keep flares under control and help you breathe your best. It’s also important to get regular flu shots and other needed immunizations to prevent respiratory infections.
- Exercise as you can. This can be difficult for people with COPD symptoms to exercise, but it also makes a big difference. Sometimes, the best way to get started is to take part in a pulmonary rehabilitation program prescribed by your doctor.
- Maintain a healthy weight. By eating nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight, you help your lungs to breathe easily by carrying fewer pounds on your body.
- Avoid irritants. With COPD, you may be especially susceptible to airborne pollutants. You can use air filters or inhalers to improve the air quality that is being exhaled.