By April Kerr
Although many people try their best to stay away from the temptations of smoking in order to stay healthy, they could still suffer from its harmful effects just by inhaling second-hand smoke from other smokers' cigarettes.
This is also called as passive smoking, environmental tobacco smoke or ETS, and secondhand smoking.
Passive smoking means the smoke in the environment that is exhaled from the smoker's lungs, or the smoke coming from the smoker's cigarette, pipe or cigar, is being inhaled by others.
In simple terms, it is known to be the involuntary breathing of smoke from different tobacco products.
This happens when tobacco smoke saturates the environment, and people in the immediate vicinity are inhaling it.
Although the person itself is not the one who is smoking, many studies have shown that inhalation of secondhand smoke poses risks to the bystanders, and are even more harmful than firsthand smoke.
This is because the smoke particles in the air are much smaller than the smoke drawn straight from a cigarette, meaning it can go deeper into the lungs of the person inhaling it.
There are scientific evidences that show how frequent exposure to secondhand smoke can cause disability, disease, and ultimately, death.
Because many people realize the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, several public areas such as workplaces, restaurants, night clubs, and bars follow smoking bans.
The short term effects of passive smoking can vary depending on the person's vulnerability to nicotine.
Other people can stay in a room with smokers and not feel any effects at all, while others can only stay in a matter of minutes or hours, and feel ill.
Common short term effects include headache, coughing, nausea, and lethargy to the average person.
These effects could be worse in people who already have health conditions such as asthma, where one could have an asthma attack because of secondhand smoke exposure.
For allergic patients, they could suffer from watery eyes, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and more.
There are several harmful long term effects of passive smoking, and this could vary depending on one's exposure to secondhand smoke.
The more frequent one is exposed to environmental smoke, the more chances of getting diseases related to smoking such as lung cancer, heart disease, lung infection, ear infection, asthma, allergies, and many more.
For pregnant women exposed to environmental smoke, they have a higher risk of getting miscarriage and birth defects.
Children who are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke may also face learning difficulties, and they may develop asthma.
As much as possible, if your work or lifestyle entails you to remain in a closed room filled with smokers, don't just sit there and say "Oh, but it's not me who's smoking."
Remember, passive smoking is also dangerous to you, and if you continue to expose yourself to secondhand smoke, then you may experience harmful effects in the long run.
Stay away from smokers as much as possible, and when visiting public places, choose one that has a smoking ban, or at least proceed to the non smoking area.