It’s a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. It is involuntarily inhaled by nonsmokers, lingers in the air hours after cigarettes have been extinguished and can cause or exacerbate a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, respiratory infections and asthma.
Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to young children. The following statistics were published by the American Lung Association. Secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year, and causes 1,900 to 2,700 sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths in the United States annually.
Secondhand smoke exposure may cause a build-up of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in 700,000 to 1.6 million physician office visits per year. Secondhand smoke can also aggravate symptoms in 400,000 to 1,000,000 children with asthma.
The statistics still show that 35 percent of children live in homes where residents or visitors smoke in the home on a regular basis. Approximately 50-75 percent of children in the United States have detectable levels of cotinine, the breakdown product of nicotine in the blood. So, we need to do better to insure that our children are not exposed to secondhand smoke which contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic.
I can always tell a home of a smoker during the home inspection process. I’m sure you don’t need me to convince you that smoking around your children is never a good idea. Much can be done to help the quality of the indoor air in our homes. So, if you’re not concerned about your own health, think about those around you.
For more information, contact Scott at www.scottsauer.com.