World No Tobacco Day is observed each year on 31 May to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe. In addition to a day singled out to discuss about the ill-effects of tobacco, the macabre representation of tobacco-effects on their packaging, tobacco continues to kill millions around the globe. In India alone, more than 10 million die each year due to tobacco.
The even worse effect of smoking is not just impacted on the person taking in the nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, DDT etc, but also the passing-on of the aforementioned chemicals that is inadvertently passed on the people around also known as the passive smokers. Some research even says that the effects of second-hand smoke are worse than actually smoking. So, the big question is, is second-hand smoke, involuntary smoking or passive smoking really worse than smoking?
When non-smokers are exposed to SHS it’s called involuntary smoking or passive smoking. According to American Cancer Society, Secondhand smoke (SHS) has the same harmful chemicals that smokers inhale. There’s no safe level of exposure for secondhand smoke (SHS). The more SHS you breathe, the higher the levels of these harmful chemicals in your body. The toxicology of tobacco smoke is the same irrespective of the method of exposure. The factors of dose, concentration, duration, and host susceptibility all contribute to the adverse health effects observed in an individual.
Secondhand smoke, hence has been known to cause cancer in adults such as larynx, nasal sinuses, bladder, rectum, stomach breast and in children SHS has been linked to lymphoma, leukaemia, liver cancer, brain tumours etc. It can also trigger asthma attacks, make asthma symptoms worse, and even cause new cases of asthma children who didn’t have symptoms before.
On this World No Tobacco Day, it is hence very crucial we start protecting the health of others by taking the prohibition of all smoking in public, indoor space or building a little more precociously.