I quit cigarettes over 33 years ago when I realized the impact of the chemicals to my health and wellness. What I didn’t realize is the continued infringement upon my health by others that smoke in my presence. Here I thought that I was so much better off by quitting…and I am. However, it seems that second hand smoke can be just as damaging as lighting up.
I recently saw a study by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation –https://no-smoke.org/secondhand-smoke-science/ – that has me rethinking my approach to family and friends that smoke around me. If you go to this link, you will get more information than is provided below. However, just to get you thinking, here are a few of the impacts that are mentioned.
► “Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in this country, killing 53,000 nonsmokers in the U.S. each year. For every eight smokers the tobacco industry kills, it takes one nonsmoker with them.
►”Just 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart damage similar to that of habitual smokers; nonsmokers’ heart arteries show a reduced ability to dilate, diminishing the ability of the heart to get life-sustaining blood.
►”There is a link between secondhand smoke and an increased risk of stroke. Regular exposure to secondhand smoke, such as in restaurants, heightens one’s chance of stroke by 50 percent.”
In addition to all the research on the American Nonsmokers’ Rights article, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) position is that “Over time, secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer. The longer you are around secondhand smoke, the more likely it is to hurt you. Nonsmokers who breathe smoke at home or at work are more likely to become sick and die from heart disease and lung cancer. “
I am not sure what the correct etiquette should be in situations where I am trapped in a vehicle with a smoker or visiting with friends that smoke around me. The article noted that ventilation doesn’t necessarily reduce the impact as the chemicals/air toxicity remains. So do I excuse myself from the immediate location and return later? Will this be seen as an abrupt change in my usual accepting, courteous behavior?
I will need to begin educating my “smoking friends” as to their impact on my health. I know that they don’t want to be told about their health and I understand that. But as I look to have a healthy and long next chapter in my life, this has got to change.
What are your thoughts on the proper etiquette?