Have you ever sat next to someone while they were smoking? The scent of the scent of the smoke seaping into your hair and clothes… Smoking and inhaling second hand smoke affects your health in many ways. Ciggarette smoke affects lung function and muscle ability as well as bone strength.
One viewing of the television series “Mad Men” should be sufficient to point out how much society’s attitudes towards second hand smoke have changed in recent years. The sight of people lighting up a cigarette anywhere and any time they feel like it “just doesn’t compute” for us in a world in which smoking is now prohibited in many, if not most, public places. The case showing the dangers of second hand smoke seems to have irrevocably been made in over 30 U.S. Surgeon General’s reports written since 1964 on the subject. CHICAGO CHIROPRACTIC would like to fill you in on the recent developments.
What we refer to as second hand smoke (SHS) is actually two forms of smoke, the first coming directly from the lit end of the cigarette, cigar, or pipe, and the second exhaled from the lungs of the smoker. The former (“sidesteam smoke”) contains higher concentrations of chemicals that have been proven to cause or contribute to cancer and other diseases, but those chemicals are present in the latter (“mainstream smoke”) as well.
While few of the many studies linking second hand smoke to lung cancer are definitive in the sense that subsequent researchers performing the same experiments find contradictory results, there have been enough of these studies to cause SHS to be classified as a “known human carcinogen” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations. Links between second hand smoke and breast cancer are much less compelling, especially because no evidence can be found of an increased risk of breast cancer in women who are active smokers.
What is known is that second hand smoke is strongly suspected as being a risk for increased incidences of lung cancer and heart disease in adults exposed to it, and a contributor to asthma and respiratory tract infections in children. The latest research points to links between exposure to SHS and problems with pregnancy, reduced fertility in men, a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other ailments. Some studies have tried to define a health risk from “thirdhand smoke,” which is the odors or particles left behind after the smoke has dissipated and is no longer airborne, but at present none of them have found a definitive causal relationship between this residue and increased health risks.
The result of this research and concern over it is that smoking has been banned in many places, including the workplace, public buildings, restaurants and bars, etc. This trend is likely to continue, despite “pushback” from smokers and from the cigarette industry. And there is recent research that indicates that this trend is a positive one – studies performed at the University of California and at the University of Kansas found a 15% decline in hospitalizations from heart-attack the first year after anti-smoking ordinances had been passed, and a 36% decline after three years. As more and more of these types of studies are done, it is likely that lawmakers and the public will respond to them, and pass more anti-smoking ordinances.
Contact Chicago Chiropractic for further information on the side effects of smoking.