Smoking doesn’t just harm the smoker. Innocent bystanders are also at risk. Secondhand smoke contains over 250 toxins and 70 carcinogens. Some of these chemicals may surprise you, including ammonia (used in household cleaners), formaldehyde (used to embalm corpses) and cyanide (used to kill rats). These and other harmful chemicals are breathed in through secondhand smoke.
For infants and young children, secondhand smoke is particularly dangerous. Their still-developing lungs are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke’s deadly chemicals. In Oklahoma alone, 216,000 kids are exposed to secondhand smoke at home. Exposure can lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, asthma attacks, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Secondhand smoke is difficult to control. However, there are still plenty of ways to minimize your exposure to it. Here are a few to help keep your world tobacco free:
- Keep your home and car smokefree. That includes visitors and passengers.
- Choose only tobacco-free businesses and restaurants. Nonsmoking sections are not adequate protection from secondhand smoke.
- When you travel, stay in smokefree hotels and rent nonsmoking cars.
- If you or a loved one uses tobacco, encourage them to call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline. Free support is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-QUIT NOW or by visiting OKhelpline.com.
40% of kids who visit the emergency room for asthma live with a smoker?