How Secondhand Smoking Affects Us
As most of you know, smoking is bad for your health, but what some of you might not know is that you don’t actually have to smoke to be harmed by smoking. Lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women, is mainly caused by cigarette smoking. Secondhand smoking causes approximately 2 percent of lung cancer deaths each year. It causes respiratory disease, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), middle ear disease, and asthma attacks in children.
Imagine a room full of young, healthy second-graders with a Joe Camel cigarette in their hand, smoking; that is basically what secondhand smoking is like. It has toxic and carcinogenic effects that are practically the same as smoking a cigarette. Children from birth to 2 years of age are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke because their lungs are not fully developed.
The EPA estimates that secondhand smoking is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respitory infections in infants and children under 18 months of age yearly, which result in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are also more likely to have reduced lung function and symptoms like coughing, excess phlegm, and wheezing. Secondhand smoking can lead to a buildup of fluid in the middle ear, the most common cause of hospitalized children for an operation.
Asthmatic children are especially at risk. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the number of episodes and severity of symptoms in hundreds of thousands of asthmatic children. Between 200,000 and 1,000,000 asthmatic children have their condition worsened by secondhand smoke. It also causes thousands of other children to develop asthma.
If you know anyone that smokes, tell him or her to quit. When someone smokes, it doesn’t only affect that person it affects everyone around him or her. Make this world a better place for nonsmokers. Do you want to suffer the consequences of somebody else’s stupidity?
Thank you for not smoking.