What You Should Know About Secondhand Smoke
A Kentucky Problem
Most people know that smoking tobacco is very risky for the smoker. But did you know that tobacco smoke is dangerous for nonsmokers too?
Secondhand smoke comes from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar. It also comes from smoke exhaled from the smoker. Each year secondhand smoke causes about 46,000 deaths to nonsmokers from heart disease and 3,000 deaths from lung cancer.
Children living in households where adults smoke are at high risk of exposure to secondhand smoke. Parents who smoke provide almost 90 percent of a child’s exposure to secondhand smoke. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They also have more health problems such as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma and ear infections. Children living in households where adults smoke are hospitalized more than children living in smoke-free homes.
Secondhand Smoke Etiquette
- When approaching a group, ask if it is okay to smoke. If even one person objects, don't smoke.
- Don't drop butts on the ground. Put it in a rubbish can or back into your cigarette pack.
- If lectured about the health risks of smoking, don't engage in defensive behavior. Just walk away.
- Avoid smoking in places where others are likely to pass such as door entrances, cross walks, etc.
- Before lighting up in someone else's car, ask if it is ok to smoke.
- Avoid smoking in tobacco free areas
- If smokers are in a smoking environment, be courteous and just walk away.
- Avoid asking smokers if they know that smoking is bad for them.
- Tell tobacco users (especially smokers) in advance if you are taking them someplace where they won't be able to use tobacco at all or for a long time.
- If in a smoker's home or car, it is okay to ask politely if they mind not smoking around you. If they would prefer to keep smoking, you can decide to leave or stay.
- If you are comfortable with individuals smoking outside your home, it is good to provide an ashtray.
- If going on a long trip, offer to stop for smoke breaks.
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