Effects of Second Hand Smoke on Air Quality Tips

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What are the effects of reduced air quality on the job?

Two Kinds of Second Hand Smoke

The odors and chemicals associated with second hand smoke come from two sources, according to Cancer.org. Did you know that smoke from a lit pipe, cigarette, or other burning tobacco product is known as sidestream smoke? The smoke that is exhaled from the mouth or nostrils of a smoker is called mainstream smoke.

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter which kind of second hand smoke you encounter, the "passive smoker" (or second hand smoker) encounters more than 4,000 chemicals. At least 60 of these are known to cause cancer.

This issue is complicated by "multipliers" of second hand smoke. Those who work in bars, nightclubs, and other environments where smoking is still permitted absorb far more odors and chemicals from tobac10 smokers, who all smoke two cigarettes each. The employees absorb the smoke of 20 cigarettes! This noticeable reduction in air quality can lead to respiratory problems beyond simple discomfort; some experts say environments lacking in Healthy Air can actually lead to reduced lung function!

Is my teen exposed to second hand smoke in the workplace?

Second Hand Smoke a Particular Danger to Teens

In spite of increased awareness of the need for healthy air in the workplace, many restaurants still have smoking sections. While teenagers are prohibited by law from smoking, that they are still legally exposed to tobacco smoke through the food service industry. This is considered by some to be a shocking hypocrisy in the workplace.

According to one report, more than 6.6 million Americans worked in food preparation and service occupations. One in five workers in these occupations is a teenager. Teens are not allowed to serve alcohol, but they are still allowed to breathe polluted air thanks to the effects of second hand smoke from these smoking sections. Even if teens aren't allowed to work directly in these nonsmoking sections, air quality in the workplace is still compromised by the odors and chemicals of second hand smoke. If your teen is being paid to work in a polluted environment, it may be time for a change of jobs. Those who live in areas governed by smoke-free workplace laws are fortunate to have such governmental protection from second hand smoke.

Don't smoking sections help protect air quality in the workplace?

Indoor Air Quality And Smoking Sections

Many people wrongly believe that offering a smoking section in a bar, restaurant, or other businesses will protect nonsmokers from the odors and chemicals of tobacco smoke. Not so, says a report by Repace Associates, Inc. According to a Repace report, "Spatial separation of smokers from nonsmokers within a space does not affect either the smoker density nor the ventilation rate, and so cannot reduce the average SHS (second hand smoke) concentration."

Healthy air can only come as a result of removing the smoke. Many ventilation systems in restaurants and clubs are woefully inadequate when it comes to air purification. The notion that an enclosed space could ever be considered safe from the effects of second hand smoke is an erroneous one. Fortunately for nonsmokers, there is increasing pressure from lawmakers to go smoke-free. In the meantime, the best nonsmoking employees can do is to maintain healthy air at home, and look for employment in public places where smoke free practices are already in place.

What are the possible effects of second hand smoke in the home?

Second Hand Smoke and Your Health

Did you know that second hand smoke, also known as environmental smoke, is classified by the EPA as a known carcinogen? The American Lung Association reports as many as three thousand lung cancer deaths per year associated with second hand smoke. These deaths are for non-smokers, and the statistics for coronary deaths are even more startling; a whopping 25 percent increase in the likelihood of coronary disease for those exposed to second hand smoke as opposed to those who breath Healthy Air.

If you are dealing with the physical effects of second hand smoke in the home, it is very important to minimize your expose to second hand smoke through air purification devices and other solutions that can help reduce odors and chemicals in household air. The sooner you get air purification devices installed in the areas where you encounter second hand smoke, the better.

Won't a smoking ban be bad for business?

New York Workplace Smoking Ban Leads to Increases in Business

According to the American Lung Association, only a handful of states have banned smoking in all workplaces including bars and restaurants. Fortunately, most states have some restrictions on public smoking, but only half of America has legal limits on smoking in the workplace, according to a 2003 American Lung Association report. More legislation has been enacted since that study, but one of the most encouraging bits of news comes from a New York report.

Did you know that there has been an increase in business for smoke-free bars and dining establishments? The nearly 10 percent increase shown from this report could be interpreted as a desire for healthy air, as could the increase of nearly three thousand seasonally adjusted jobs since the New York smoking ban took effect.

The lesson to be learned from the New York study? Voting with your dollar can lead to your concerns being taken seriously by local businesses. You don't have to arrange a vocal boycott of businesses that don't have healthy air; if you and your associates simply spend your money at "clean air" establishments, the message will be sent loud and clear.

What happens when second hand smoke is combined with fumes or other chemicals?

Combining Contaminants

The effects of second hand smoke are harmful enough, but in some occupations the combination of cigarette smoke with solvents, cleaners, toxic runoff, and other byproducts of industry which can be potentially harmful, especially when inhaled in proximity to smoke.

It's important in situations where you may be required to work with these fume-producing materials to reduce the danger to your lungs by wearing respirators, face masks or other filters. If you can open a window in an enclosed area, operate fans, or even have portable filtration systems installed, by all means do so.

We are a nonsmoking family. Can we still be exposed in our home?

I'm A Nonsmoker. Do I Need Air Purifiers?

You and your family may have healthy air in your living space, but those who live in apartment buildings may be susceptible to second hand smoke from neighbors. Many apartment complexes still offer apartments that allow smoking, which means you can still be exposed to the Odor and Chemicals from second hand smoke.

If you find you have no recourse under the law to second hand smoke exposure in your apartment building, you will need to be proactive in your efforts to preserve healthy air. Air cleaners, HEPA filtration, and other measures may be a very important part of reducing the effects of second hand smoke on your family. In the end, you may want to locate a smoke-free apartment building, but until your lease runs out, you may be stuck dealing with smoke.

Can the father's smoking factor in when it comes to healthy conception?

Second Hand Smoke and Pregnancy

A recent study at the University of California at Berkeley reveals evidence suggesting that smoking by the father before conception is linked to an increase in some forms of leukemia in children. Babies exposed to second hand smoke after birth, according to the study, also seem to have an increased risk of leukemia. While there is a greater awareness of the risks associated with smoking, most of the attention regarding smoking during pregnancy is given to maternal smoking. This new data suggests that parents must both take part in providing a Healthy Air environment for a child. It is hoped that the new data will encourage fathers to quit smoking when it comes time for family planning.

I'm only exposed to a little second hand smoke. Am I still in danger?

The Surgeon General Speaks Out On Air Quality

According to a June 27, 2006 statement made by U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, second hand smoke is much more hazardous than many smokers care to admit. According to "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke," there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke; the issue is still a major concern as nearly half of all American nonsmokers are exposed to tobacco smoke on a regular basis.

Healthy Air is getting harder to come by, especially in areas such as California and Montana, where seasonal forest fires create hazardous conditions; in San Antonio and Chicago, summertime temperature inversion brings a thick haze of smog and ozone action days. Many people resort to air purifiers and HEPA filters to combat these air pollutants. Second hand smoke exposure only aggravates the problem, and as the Surgeon General points out in the report, it is a completely avoidable problem.

The report does have some good news. “Our progress over the past 20 years in clearing the air of tobacco smoke is a major public health success story,” Surgeon General Carmona said. Second hand smoke statistics are improving, and the growing awareness of second hand smoke issues are helping to improve public air quality. Whether through legislation or voluntary compliance with EPA Healthy Air initiatives, many more people are breathing easier in public.

Are there non-cardiovascular side effects from second hand smoke?

Air Quality and Ailments

Did you know that in addition to heart and lung disease, second hand smoke and a lack of healthy air contributes to ailments that seem unrelated to the inhalation of tobacco smoke? One of the side effects of second hand smoke is an increased occurrence of ear infections in children. This can happen alongside the usual respiratory ailments, asthma attacks, and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS is also attributed in some cases to second hand smoke.

The EPA offers a program to help people make their homes smoke free. In addition to the purchase of air purifier equipment and tobacco cessation programs already on the market, you can now go to http://www.epa.gov/smokefree/pledge/index.html to take the EPA's Smoke Free Home pledge and get helpful information that can assist you in your quest for Healthy Air in the home.

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