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Is second hand smoke bad for your health?


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View Poll Results: Is second hand smoke bad for your health?
Yes 72 85.71%
No 6 7.14%
Explain 6 7.14%
Voters: 84. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
July 15th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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Is second hand smoke bad for your health?
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  #2  
July 15th, 2008, 03:15 PM
Erin's First's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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YES!!!! I think it's just as bad as smoking. Anything that you breathe into your lungs/body other than oxygen is unhealthy.
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  #3  
July 15th, 2008, 03:36 PM
Cereal Killer's Avatar Aiming for mediocrity
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Quote:
More than a year has passed since U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said, "The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard."

At the time, Carmona released a seemingly impressive 727-page report on secondhand smoke, the introduction of which claims secondhand smoke killed approximately 50,000 nonsmoking adults and children in 2005.

Carmona's report stated the new orthodoxy in the anti-smoking establishment: There is a "consensus" on the dangers of secondhand smoke. But did his report actually make the case?


Junk Science and Courtrooms

Understanding Carmona's report requires familiarity with a different report--the Federal Judicial Center's 2000 "Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Second Edition," the official guide for judges to understand and rule on science introduced in courtrooms.

According to the manual, nearly all the studies cited in Carmona's report wouldn't pass muster in a court of law because they are observational studies, the sample sizes are too small, or the effects they show are too negligible to be reliable.

For example, the Reference Manual states, "the threshold for concluding that an agent was more likely than not the cause of an individual's disease is a relative risk greater than 2.0." Few of the studies Carmona cites found relative risks this large, and most found risks in a range that included 1.0, which means exposure to secondhand smoke had no effect on the incidence of disease. In the world of real science, that's a knockout blow.

Most of the research Carmona cites was rejected by a federal judge in 1993, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first tried to classify secondhand smoke as a human carcinogen. The judge said EPA cherry-picked studies to support its position, misrepresented the most important findings, and failed to honor scientific standards. Carmona's report relies on the same studies and makes the same claims EPA did a decade ago.


Missing Study

Did Carmona and coauthors cherry-pick the data? Absolutely. They ignore the largest and most credible study ever conducted on spouses of smokers, by Enstrom and Kabat, published in the May 12, 2003 issue of the British Medical Journal. The authors found:

"The results do not support a causal relationship between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco-related mortality. The association between tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed."

Carmona mentions the Enstrom study just once, in an appendix listing studies too recent to include in the report. But Enstrom's study was published four years ago, and Carmona cites more recent studies. In fact, Carmona's principal "findings" were taken from a 2005 report--not a scientific study, merely another report--from California's Clean Air Resources Board, mostly citing the very studies the federal judge rejected in 1993.


Additional Confirmation

The Enstrom study isn't the odd exception among all the available studies on secondhand smoke. A 2002 analysis of 48 studies, also published in the British Medical Journal, found only seven showed a relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and lung cancer, while 41 did not.

A 1998 World Health Organization (WHO) study covering seven countries over seven years actually showed a statistically significant reduced risk for children of smokers and no increase for spouses and coworkers of smokers.


False Findings

No one is saying being around smokers is good for kids' health. The WHO study simply shows the largest and longest studies on secondhand smoke are most likely to find no effects.

There is a reason for this. In an August 2005 essay in PloS Medicine, Tufts University epidemiologist John Ioannidis explains:

"There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims. However, this should not be surprising. It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false."

Ioannidis writes that when tens of thousands of researchers are conducting thousands of small and short-term epidemiological studies, all of them seeking to find evidence of a small or nonexistent effect, and when academic journals are predisposed to publish studies claiming positive correlations (no matter how small) that support the conventional wisdom, the result is that "most published research findings are false."


Who's Claiming Consensus?

Far from being the last word on the health effects of secondhand smoke, Carmona's report and its uncritical acceptance by frequent commentators on smoking raise questions about bias, error, and the deliberate orchestration of public opinion. The commentators who echo the Surgeon General's claim fall into one or more of five groups:

* Liberal advocacy groups such as the Center for Tobacco Free Kids, American Cancer Society, and American Legacy Foundation, which clearly profit from increased public attention to secondhand smoke.

* Government agencies, including the Office of the Surgeon General, the Department of Health and Human Services, and EPA, which exist largely for the purpose of discovering and publicizing health risks, even if they are backed by dubious research.

* Some corporations--notably Johnson & Johnson, which makes smoking-cessation aids--which give liberal advocacy groups hundreds of millions of dollars to demonize smoking and compel more consumers to use their products.

* The news media, which simply publish the news releases from the first three groups.

* Politicians, who read the newspaper stories and hear from the advocacy groups and rationally calculate their odds of being reelected improve if they proclaim deep concern over secondhand smoke and propose solutions that will cost taxpayers and consumers billions of dollars annually.



Heavy-Handed Government

The idea that smokers and nonsmokers might solve this problem voluntarily is dismissed out of hand by those who claim secondhand-smoke exposure is a public health crisis. The "solutions" they want all require bigger government: higher taxes on cigarettes, bans on smoking in public, restrictions on advertising and health claims, etc.

Oddly, these solutions all work to advance the self-interest and agendas of the five groups that repeat Carmona's claim of "consensus." What are the odds this correlation is coincidental?[/b]
Source

Quote:
THE world's leading health organisation has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could even have a protective effect.[/b]
Quote:
The findings are certain to be an embarrassment to the WHO, which has spent years and vast sums on anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns. The study is one of the largest ever to look at the link between passive smoking - or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) - and lung cancer, and had been eagerly awaited by medical experts and campaigning groups.

Yet the scientists have found that there was no statistical evidence that passive smoking caused lung cancer. The research compared 650 lung cancer patients with 1,542 healthy people. It looked at people who were married to smokers, worked with smokers, both worked and were married to smokers, and those who grew up with smokers.

The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: "There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood."[/b]
Telegraph UK

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  #4  
July 15th, 2008, 03:50 PM
SusieQ2's Avatar Jersey Girl
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There is always contradicting research it seems so I'll speak from personal experience. My Dad smoked since he was a teenager. By the time I was born and then my brother 2 1/2 years later he was smoking 2 packs a day. My brother and I were sick with colds and allergies pretty often. We all had a cough that never quite seemed to go away. My Dad had that hacking smoker's cough.

Well he quit cold turkey one day. Within a few weeks we all got a bit healthier. Within in a few months we were much healthier. Things got better and better and even my Dad's cough went away.

Needless to say he felt guilty knowing that his habit had been making his children sick.
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  #5  
July 15th, 2008, 04:58 PM
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I'm walking proof that it's bad for you. At 21 a series of lung tests revealed I had the lungs of someone who'd been smoking a pack a day for 10 years.. and I'd never even taken a puff (something I'm proud of). When I'd get sick, I'd hack up gross colored mucus, and when it was tested it'd contain all the same chemicals they could scrape off my dad's lungs.

Needless to say, even 3 years after moving away from my smoking family, my lungs are no better. I don't hack up black stuff anymore, but I have what's known as Adult Onset Asthma. The cause of it is listed as 2nd hand smoke contact. I recently had some tests run, and while they're clear again, the lining is damaged beyond repair. I'll always need a puffer when I exercise, muggy weather makes me gasp, cold takes my breath away, I can't hand AC... basically it's like I'm constantly sick. They told me if I hadn't have gotten pregnant (the symptoms started just before I found out I was pregnant) I probably could have fought it off for several more years.

Now I have to deal with all the triggers for asthma. Scent (perfume and men's cologne mostly), dust, mold, cats (I love my kitty!), smoke (both tobacco and natural). Sometimes, life just sucks for me.. and people are always asking me if I need water because of my constant clearing cough...
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  #6  
July 15th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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Both of my parents smoked (to the point that my Dad had his bladder removed from cancer) and I was never sick. I guess I was just lucky ...
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  #7  
July 15th, 2008, 07:01 PM
bubsmommy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I think it is bad for you yes. Both of my parents and the majority of both sides of the family are/were heavy smokers. (My mom passed away in 05) Growing up I was constantly sick. When I moved out on my own I noticed a BIG difference in the way that I was breathing and the fact that I didn't get sick half as much. I also was diagnosed with adult onset asthma and have to have an inhalor with me at all times because even walking by someone smoking can make me have an attack. I still have problems breathing at times (muggy weather, doing too much activity, etc) and I've all but stopped going around my family. Second hand smoke is just as bad, if not worse, in my opinion, as smoking.
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  #8  
July 15th, 2008, 07:31 PM
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Yes it is.
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  #9  
July 15th, 2008, 10:19 PM
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If someone smokes inside a place that does not have good ventilation, then yes, it is bad for you. But a place without good ventilation is bad for you in general.
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  #10  
July 15th, 2008, 10:28 PM
Cereal Killer's Avatar Aiming for mediocrity
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So, are we just going to ignore facts? Anecdotal evidence overrides scientific and medical evidence?

"If repeated often enough, a lie will become the new truth."
Paul Joseph Goebbles, Minister of Propaganda, Nazi Germany


Quote:
As to the matter of someone being "allergic" to ETS, based on the traditional definition of an allergen being an agent that promotes an immunological response, ETS fails that test, and so far, at least, can only be classified as an irritant. Properly, people are "sensitive" to ETS. But, playing on the well known dangers of smoking, the doom-profiteers have worked many people into a frenzy, by conflating the bad habit of smoking with the much different matter of breathing in secondhand smoke.[/b]
Quote:
The biggest study on this topic, covering 39 years, and involving 118,094 adults, with particular focus on 35,561 who never smoked, and had a spouse in the study with known smoking habits, came to this conclusion:

"The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed."[/b]
Quote:
Several other studies support these results, including one from the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, published back in 1975, when smoking was rampant in bars and other public places. The paper concluded that the concentration of ETS contaminants in these smoky confines was equal to the effects of smoking 0.004 cigarettes per hour. In other words, you would have to hang out for 250 hours to match the effects of smoking one cigarette.[/b]
Health news digest
The WHO's tobacco free initiative
Critique of EPA report and methods


Quote:
the EPA study made subjective judgements, failed to account for factors that could bias results, and relaxed scientific standards to achieve the desired pre-determined results.[/b]
Congressional Report
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  #11  
July 16th, 2008, 06:21 AM
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I don't think it is good for you, I wouldn't subject my child to it, but I grew up with both parents smoking in the house HEAVILY. We had 5 kids & other than my one brother having a lot of ear aches no one was really very sick ever. No one has breathing issues. However among the grandkids there are issues with allergies & asthma totally unrelated to smoking. I think it is mostly genetics. I DO think smoking can irritate a condition, no doubt, but I don't think it causes as many as is claimed. I also don't have an issue taking my DS to places where people are smoking such as a wedding reception. I just can't believe I could get through my childhood (and virtually every other kid I knew growing up) having parents that smoked day n & day out around us) being totally fine & some exposure here & there at events, etc is actually going to be harmful to DS. I also am aware that the studies done to prove the damaging effects have not exactly been done in a way that compels me to ever be concerned that incidental exposure is anything I should worry about too much.
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  #12  
July 16th, 2008, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
These instances of secondhand smoke present health hazards comparable to smoking. High in toxic chemicals, secondhand smoke plays a role in causing or contributing to a number of health problems, from cardiovascular disease to cancer. The Surgeon General reported in 2006 that scientific evidence shows there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

But secondhand smoke is often avoidable. Take steps to protect yourself and those you care about from secondhand smoke.
Toxins in secondhand smoke

What exactly is secondhand smoke? It's two different forms of smoke from cigarettes, pipes or cigars:

* Sidestream smoke comes directly from the burning tobacco product.
* Mainstream smoke is smoke that the smoker exhales.

Secondhand smoke is also known as environmental tobacco smoke, passive smoking, involuntary smoking and perhaps a more descriptive term, tobacco smoke pollution.

Regardless of what you call it, both types of secondhand smoke contain harmful chemicals — and a lot of them. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, more than 250 of which are toxic. And more than 50 of the chemicals in cigarette smoke are known or suspected to cause cancer. Included in secondhand smoke are:

* Formaldehyde
* Arsenic
* Cadmium
* Benzene
* Polonium

Here are a few more chemicals in secondhand smoke that might sound familiar, along with their effects on health:

* Ammonia — irritates your lungs
* Carbon monoxide — reduces oxygen in your blood
* Methanol — toxic when inhaled or swallowed
* Hydrogen cyanide — a potent poison that interferes with respiratory function

The dangerous particles in secondhand smoke can linger in the air for hours. Breathing them even for a short time — as little as 20 or 30 minutes — can harm you in a variety of ways. And breathing in secondhand smoke over years can be all the more dangerous.
Health threats to adults from secondhand smoke

Health experts have recognized the relationship between secondhand smoke and health risks for decades. Research exploring these connections continues.

Some of the known or suspected health risks include:

Cancer
Secondhand smoke is a known risk factor for lung cancer. Experts believe that secondhand smoke is to blame for about 3,400 deaths from lung cancer in adult nonsmokers each year in the United States. Secondhand smoke is also linked to cancer of the nasal sinuses.

Heart disease
Secondhand smoke harms the cardiovascular system of nonsmokers in many ways. For one thing, it causes heart disease, such as a heart attack. It also damages blood vessels, interferes with circulation and increases the risk of blood clots. It's estimated that some 35,000 nonsmokers die of secondhand smoke-related heart disease in the United States every year.

Lung disease
Chronic lung ailments, such as bronchitis and asthma, have been associated with secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke is also associated with chest tightness at night and feelings of breathlessness after physical activity.
Health threats to children from secondhand smoke

Secondhand smoke has a marked effect on the health of infants and children. They're more vulnerable than adults are because they're still developing physically and generally have higher breathing rates, which means they may inhale greater quantities of secondhand smoke than adults do.

For children who live in households where someone smokes, the effects are worst during the child's first five years, since the child may spend the bulk of that time with a smoking parent or guardian. Ironically, infants are at the highest risk of secondhand smoke from their own mothers. A child who spends just one hour in a very smoky room is inhaling as many dangerous chemicals as if he or she smoked 10 or more cigarettes. And even when parents don't smoke at home or in the car, there can still be negative effects when children are exposed to the tobacco smoke pollution released from the clothing and hair of smoking parents.

Here's a look at some of the main health problems in infants and children associated with secondhand smoke.

Growth and development
Women who are exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy are at higher risk of having babies of slightly lower birth weight. This can cause a host of health problems for the baby, such as cerebral palsy or learning disabilities. Women who actively smoke during pregnancy expose their developing baby to passive smoke — the chemicals may pass through the placenta — and put the baby at risk of lower birth weight.

An infant who was exposed to secondhand smoke as a developing fetus may be at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Post-birth exposure to secondhand smoke from the mother, father or others in the household also increases the risk of SIDS.

Asthma and other respiratory problems
Secondhand smoke may cause asthma in children. In children who already have asthma, secondhand smoke can make episodes more frequent and more severe.

Secondhand smoke is also tied to infections of the lower respiratory tract, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, especially in those younger than 6. It's also associated with irritation of the upper respiratory tract and a small reduction in lung function.

Middle ear conditions
Children living in households with smokers are more likely to develop middle ear infections (otitis media).[/b]
Quote:
Other health problems related to secondhand smoke

For both adults and children, secondhand smoke is linked to a variety of other health problems, including:

* Chronic coughing, phlegm and wheezing
* Eye and nose irritation
* Reduced lung function
* Irritability
* Dental cavities[/b]
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sec...-smoke/CC00023

Quote:
The harmful effects of secondhand smoke may be much greater than previously thought, according to a new study released today.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that inhaling someone else's tobacco smoke may increase your risk of heart disease by up to 60 percent.

Some U.S. cities have banned smoking in bars and restaurants. But in most of the country, it's still legal.

Many communities insist there's not enough evidence that breathing in someone else's smoke does any harm, though this study is likely to change that.

"For the first time, we have hard evidence, physical evidence, of secondhand smoking getting into the bodies of nonsmokers and putting their health at risk," said Dr. Michael Fiore, professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin Medical School.

"The important thing for the public is to get across the message that passive smoking really is a health hazard," said study author Martin Jarvis, a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London in England.

"The scientific evidence is strong. The notion that it is still a 'controversy' is put about by the tobacco industry and its defenders in the face of clear evidence," he added.

The study followed more than 2,000 nonsmokers for 20 years.

Instead of simply asking study participants how much secondhand smoke they were exposed to both at home and at work, this study measured how much smoke they were actually breathing.

Researchers checked their blood for levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine found only in tobacco smoke.

"What they found is that those individuals who had cotinine in their blood stream, but who were not smokers, had a much greater risk of heart attacks," Fiore said.

Responsible for 80,000 Heart Attacks

They discovered nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke had up to a 60 percent greater risk of heart attacks — twice as much as previous studies had reported. It suggests secondhand smoke may be responsible for up to 80,000 heart attacks each year in the United States.

Another surprise from this study: You don't have to inhale much secondhand smoke to start experiencing the harmful effects on the heart, blood and blood vessels.

"Those heart attacks occur with low levels of exposure and they occur very soon after people get exposed," said Stanton Glantz of the University of California at San Francisco, one of the country's leading researchers on the effects of tobacco.

Glantz said the study should come as a wake-up call to many communities

"In the past I had thought you had to get a lot of secondhand smoke. You had to be hanging out in a bar," he said. "And what this is showing is that just about any exposure you get is causing substantial increase in risk."

In short, Glantz said, just being near someone smoking a few cigarettes a day is almost like being a light smoker yourself. Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure can give you almost the same risk of a heart attack as if you smoked one to nine cigarettes a day.

Communities Reduce Smoking, Reap Benefits

Recent research has shown communities can reap immediate benefits from efforts to reduce smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Another report published in the British Medical Journal showed heart attack rates dropped by 40 percent in Helena, Mont., after a smoke-free workplace law took effect in that city, said Andrew Hyland, an associate at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. "Rates increased back to pre-law levels when the regulation was rescinded," he said.

"Some of our most recent work shows that the level of indoor air pollution, a surrogate measure of secondhand smoke exposure, is about 85 percent lower in bars and restaurants that are required to be smoke-free by law compared to similar places where smoking is not restricted," he added.

Hyland conducted a study of air quality in seven major U.S. cities and found that New York bars had the cleanest air. New York City bars have been smoke-free since 2003.

In contrast, Hyland said, "The air quality in Washington, D.C., bars and restaurants, where smoking is permitted without restriction, ranked last with levels of pollution nearly 16 times greater than in New York City."

Hyland hopes the new data showing the risk of heart attack almost doubled by exposure to secondhand smoke encourages more communities to follow New York's lead.[/b]
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Health/Story?id=131740&page=3

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  #13  
July 16th, 2008, 08:19 AM
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Dr. Michael C. Fiore, director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention

The opinions given by Dr. Fiore are his and his alone. If you have specific questions or are concerned about your health, please consult your personal physician.

Source


Stanton Glantz Director, UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education

Source


Directors for Tobacco Control aren't biased in the least, right?
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  #14  
July 16th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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For everyone insisting that second-hand smoke "caused" their asthma, how do you really know that? Just because you have an attack when you walk by someone smoking does not mean that smoking caused the asthma in the first place. It just means that cigarette smoke is your trigger. My daughter has asthma and her trigger happens to be cold air. Should I believe that cold air caused her asthma by the same logic?
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  #15  
July 16th, 2008, 10:43 AM
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second hand smoke is worst for you then first hand because its not filtered first before inhaled. however, people who smoke are exposed to BOTH first hand and second hand smoke.
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  #16  
July 16th, 2008, 11:36 AM
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Ew. yes it is.. I don't care what any of the studies say -- IMO a runny nose/itchy eyes/difficulty breathing = bad.for.your.health !
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  #17  
July 16th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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So, if smoking causes lung cancer (which we all know it does--I watched my mom die of it), then why would that very same smoke NOT be detrimental to the health of someone exposed to it secondhand?

As a scientist, we are only allowed to analyze/accept PEER-REVIEWED articles. Here are some:

Source
Primary tobacco use and SHS exposure were associated with increased odds of earlier age at menopause in a representative sample of US women. Earlier age at menopause was found for some women worker groups with greater potential occupational SHS exposure. Thus, control of SHS exposure in the workplace may decrease the risk of mortality and morbidity associated with earlier age at menopause in US women workers.


Source
All individuals exposed to SHS have a higher risk of lung cancer. Furthermore, this study suggests that subjects first exposed before age 25 have a higher lung cancer risk compared to those for whom first exposure occurred after age 25 years.

Source
Passive smoking is the third leading but preventable cause of death worldwide. It is associated with an elevated risk of developing acute respiratory diseases, obstructive lung disorders, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
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  #18  
July 16th, 2008, 01:46 PM
Little Mrs Sunshine
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Quote:
I'm walking proof that it's bad for you. At 21 a series of lung tests revealed I had the lungs of someone who'd been smoking a pack a day for 10 years.. and I'd never even taken a puff (something I'm proud of). When I'd get sick, I'd hack up gross colored mucus, and when it was tested it'd contain all the same chemicals they could scrape off my dad's lungs.

Needless to say, even 3 years after moving away from my smoking family, my lungs are no better. I don't hack up black stuff anymore, but I have what's known as Adult Onset Asthma. The cause of it is listed as 2nd hand smoke contact. I recently had some tests run, and while they're clear again, the lining is damaged beyond repair. I'll always need a puffer when I exercise, muggy weather makes me gasp, cold takes my breath away, I can't hand AC... basically it's like I'm constantly sick. They told me if I hadn't have gotten pregnant (the symptoms started just before I found out I was pregnant) I probably could have fought it off for several more years.

Now I have to deal with all the triggers for asthma. Scent (perfume and men's cologne mostly), dust, mold, cats (I love my kitty!), smoke (both tobacco and natural). Sometimes, life just sucks for me.. and people are always asking me if I need water because of my constant clearing cough...[/b]
i believe that. I worked in a bar and within 3 months of starting to work there I got sicker and sicker ( I think from smoke ) once I stopped working there I was still sick, but I started to get beter. my husband is a smoker though, and anytime I am sick if he smokes anywhere near me I get the WORST sore throat ever, so he no longer smokes when im around.
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  #19  
July 16th, 2008, 03:24 PM
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Yes, it is bad for your health.

Honestly, putting science and studies aside - how could something that smells that vile NOT be harmful?


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  #20  
July 16th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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i would yes it is bad for you
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