The Facts about ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke)

August 5, 2012 0 Comments

It seems that whatever the subject matter, there is always a need to find a specific term to define it, and then it’s important that it has an acronym. The same applies to second hand or passive smoke; its official title is now environmental tobacco smoke and yes it has an acronym, it’s ETS.

It has been proved beyond any doubt that smoke causes serious illnesses for those that smoke, but because a non-smoker may only be near environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) occasionally, it can be very difficult to actually pin point if ETS was the cause of a respiratory illness.

Nonetheless, even without conclusive medical evidence to support the fact that ETS creates a serious health risk, the U.S. government is willing to state that, in its opinion, ETS is the single largest cause of preventable illness in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency produced a report as early as 1993 which suggested that about 3,000 deaths were directly caused by ETS each year and thousands more people are diagnosed with respiratory illnesses purely because of exposure to ETS.

Tobacco smoke, particularly smoke produced by ready rolled cigarettes contains an astounding number of chemicals; about 4,000 in total. Many of the chemicals are positively dangerous; DDT, cyanide, arsenic and formaldehyde are a few examples. Over 40 of the chemicals in tobacco smoke have been proved to be carcinogenic; that is to say they are likely to cause cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency Considers that ETS is so dangerous that it has grouped it as a Class A carcinogen; the most dangerous classification for carcinogens.

Smoking in your home, particularly if there are young children living there, is probably one of the worst things an individual can do to pollute internal air, and with the tight fitting doors and windows that modern homes have, the smoke is unable to escape.

Teenagers who are regularly exposed to ETS increases the incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions. These infections often end up causing a person to be hospitalized and, as far as babies are concerned, there is a direct link between ETS and sudden infant death syndrome.

If you have grown up in a home where there was always ETS around then you may be prone to getting respiratory infections, coughs, wheezing and general airways congestion. But it goes beyond the lungs; other studies have shown that it causes middle ear infections and can cause skin disorders.

Quitting smoking is only answer for someone who smokes. If they are unable or unwilling to quit then smoking must be banned in places where children are present. Never smoke in the home, even if you segregate a specific room, the smoke will find its way around the rest of the home.

Air filtration systems can help keep air cleaner, especially if a high efficient particulate air (HEPA) filter is fitted, but don’t use it as an excuse to continue to smoke believing it eradicates the problem. No filtration system can completely clean ETS from the air. Stopping smoking is the only way.

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