Whether it’s the hacking cough, the shortness of breath, or the yellow-stained teeth, it’s obvious that smoking is a hazard to your health, but what isn’t so obvious is the danger that smoking poses to those around you.
This month, we’re showing how second- and third-hand smoke can affect your pets, your family, your friends, and even the value of your home and car. Read below to learn how you can prevent that toxic cloud from sneaking up on the things you treasure most in life.
Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke on the Family
Secondhand smoke kills more than 42,000 nonsmokers each year. That’s right — 42,000 nonsmokers.
And this number doesn’t include the millions of people who are exposed to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke each year. Cigarette smoke cannot be contained by walls or arbitrary boundaries; when a person smokes, fumes escape into the air around them, creating a potential hazard to those nearby.
Secondhand smoke is most prevalent in the home or workplace, but it can also be detected in bars, restaurants, casinos, and even in the upholstery of vehicles, making no space completely out of its reach. And according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “There is no risk-free level of secondhand exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.”
Worse yet, the dangers of secondhand smoke don’t impact everyone equally. Unfortunately, babies, children, and adolescents who are most at risk of suffering from its painful effects.
Use Quit and Stay Quit Monday to help cut your contribution of secondhand smoke and avoid the potential dangers of secondhand smoke listed below.
Studies show that a reduction in secondhand smoking in American homes was linked to fewer cases of otitis media, the scientific name for middle ear infection. Secondhand smoke increases the level of unhealthy particles in the air and can irritate the eustachian tube, which connects the back of the nose with the middle ear, leading to swelling, pain, and infection.
More Frequent and Severe Asthma Attacks
For people with asthma, an attack can be triggered by anything that irritates the airways. And although different people have different triggers, tobacco smoke is one of the most common.
Respiratory symptoms, which include coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath, are all associated with exposure to secondhand smoke. These symptoms are more common in children who breath secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke can be extremely harmful to the young lungs of children. It’s estimated that secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 to 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age. These infections lead to nearly 10,000 hospitalizations each year.
It’s a common misconception that breathing secondhand smoke only affects the lungs. Each year, close to 34,000 people die of heart disease related to secondhand smoking.
Did you know that because of secondhand smoke nonsmokers are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances as smokers? That means kids, in-laws, and pets living with a smoker are at a greater risk of developing all types of cancer.
Quit Cigarettes on Monday and Start Smelling Like the Real You
Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, but does anyone want to be remembered as “the smoker?”
One puff of a cigarette and your exterior is coated with a stale, burnt perfume. The odor clings to your hair, skin, and clothing and is nearly impossible to purge without a shower and a thorough scrubbing. And although you might have grown accustomed to the acrid, slightly sour fragrance of cigarette smoke, the smell is quite disagreeable with a non-smoker.
Spending a day without the aroma of tobacco smoke hovering about means that you can smell, well, nice. If you have a previously unused perfume or cologne, Monday can be a day to give it a try. Have a new ensemble? Preserve that outfits’ freshness by wearing it on Quit and Stay Quit Monday. And best of all, your friends and family won’t cringe when you step into their car, house, or apartment.
There are a number of techniques you can use to beat those cravings such as deep breathing, drinking a glass of cold water, calling your “quit buddy,” or chewing on a piece of gum or sugar-free candy. Use these techniques next Monday and start smelling like yourself again.
Smoking Destroys Much More Than Just Your Lungs
Smoking cigarettes is an expensive habit in more ways than one, but many of these costs are not as obvious as purchasing the pack itself. Not only does cigarette smoke affect the health of your lungs, skin, hair, and teeth, but it finds its way into every pore of your most treasured material possessions.
And that smell and chemical residue of cigarette smoke is difficult to eliminate.
As you continue to smoke, many of your most precious assets (including your health) will depreciate in value. If you’re trying to resell a car of house that someone has thoroughly smoked in, expect to receive a 10 – 30 percent lower return than the average market rate.
Yes, smoking cigarettes is an expensive habit indeed.
Smoking in the home can reduce a property’s resale value by nearly 30 percent and makes it more difficult to find a buyer. Around one-third of prospective home buyers refuse to even consider a home in which someone has smoked. The residues from cigarette smoke cling to the walls and other surfaces of the house and often require professional restoration to remove.
A smoky oak-barrel smell might be a positive attribute of a vintage Boudreaux, but it is certainly not desirable when it comes to your wooden furniture. Odors such as cigarette smoke can penetrate wooden furniture and reduce its quality.
Makes Clothing a Potential Hazard:
The smell of tobacco smoke is incredibly difficult to purge from clothing, so if you don’t want to reek of stale cigarette, you’ll have to be constantly investing in a new wardrobe. Third-hand smoke (THS) — the residual contamination that lingers on fabrics exposed to cigarette smoke — can also be a health hazard to children and pets.
Degrades a Car’s Interior
Smoking can harm the resale health of your car more than a ding, scratch, or extra mileage. A heavy tobacco odor or damage to the upholstery can wipe close to 10 percent off the vehicles value.
Yes, Third-Hand Smoke is Dangerous — Here’s How to Defend Against It
We are all familiar with the noxious, burnt aroma of stale tobacco smoke, but this unpleasant smell is more than just an inconvenience for our nostrils; it’s also a possible health risk.
And there’s a name for it: Third-hand smoke.
Third-hand smoke is the residual nicotine and chemical mixture that remains on indoor surfaces from tobacco smoke. These lingering residues cling to everything and anything — from furniture, walls, and carpets to skin, clothes, dust particles, and hair, and they can mix with other common indoor pollutants to create a dangerous cocktail of cancer-causing compounds.
And it doesn’t take much to be exposed to third-hand smoke; simply sitting on or touching a contaminated surface increases the risk of being affected.
Children, infants, and pets are more vulnerable to the potential hazards of third-hand smoke because they are more likely to crawl, touch, and taste the polluted areas. When a nonsmoker breathes in, touches, or ingests this carcinogenic mix, it increases the likelihood of having asthma attacks, allergic reactions, or other health issues.
But there are ways to reduce your loved one’s exposure to third-hand smoke, and many of them require only a little bit of planning and maybe some elbow grease.
This one isn’t easy, and it may take several attempts, but if you use Quit Monday to recommit, your chances of success greatly increase. This is the single best thing a parent can do to avoid short-term or long-term consequences for children and pets.
Demand a Smoke-Free Car and Home:
For many, cessation from smoking is a gradual process. If this is case, you can still insist that your home and car remain smoke-free.
Don’t Bring the Smoke Home:
Although there’s been a lot of progress in discouraging smoking in public places, there are still many jobs and work environments that allow it. If you recognize that your clothes smell of cigarette smoke, do your best to dump them in the laundry and shower soon after you get home.
Visit Smoke-Free Hotels and Restaurants:
Many hotels and restaurants are smoke-free or offer smoke free options. Make sure to inquire when you’re checking into a hotel room that it is smoke free.