Passive Smoking – How it Hurts Others
Smoking harms, not just the smoker, but everyone around them, i.e., family members, co-workers, and others who breathe in the smoker’s cigarette fumes. This kind of smoking is called passive smoking. Passive smoking exposes infants to middle ear problems, causes coughing and wheezing. It worsens asthma, and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Smoking is the slowest form of suicide. Second-hand smoke, as and when breathed in by a child, increases his/her chances of middle ear problems, asthma, and bronchitis. If both parents smoke, the child is more likely to be exposed to the above ailments.
Passive smokers are at higher risk of developing smoking-related diseases than the active smokers. Children, whose parents smoke, are more likely to suffer from asthma/asthmatic bronchitis. Infants under two years of age are more likely to suffer from allergies, severe respiratory infections, and cot death.
Smoking is also harmful to the unborn fetus in case of a pregnant woman. If a pregnant woman indulges in smoking, the risk of miscarriage, early delivery (prematurity), stillbirth, infant death, and low birth weight increases.
Exposure to passive smoking also causes cancer, and augments the risk of stroke and heart disease. A teenager is more likely to smoke if both parents do, when compared to those adolescents whose parents are non-smokers. In households where only one parent smokes, young people are more likely to start smoking.
The prevalence of infertility is higher in women who are passive or active smokers, and the time it takes for them to conceive is much longer, when compared to non-smokers. Cigarette smoking is harmful to a woman’s ovaries, as it accelerates the loss of eggs and deteriorates the reproductive function. It may advance menopause by several years. Components in cigarette smoke often interfere with the ability of ovarian cells to produce estrogen, and cause a woman’s eggs (oocytes) to be more prone to genetic abnormalities.