Tag Archives: tobacco smoke exposure

Cigarette Smoke Exposure Not Safe in Any Amount

Have you seen the recent new headline: Surgeon General Issues Latest Warning: Tobacco Smoke Exposure Not Safe in Any Amount?

Statistics highlight how one in five Americans are first-hand smokers. Whether these smokers have one cigarette a week, or an entire pack a day, the poisonous effects of cigarette smoke does not discriminate.

There are millions of others who are exposed to second-hand smoke, whether regularly or irregularly. These people are also at equal risk to the poisonous effects of tobacco smoke.

The Surgeon General stresses that no amount of cigarette smoke is safe for anyone.

Surgeon General’s Warning

For over 45 years the Surgeon General has been issuing strong warnings about the consequences of smoking and tobacco exposure. In the latest release, the Surgeon General warns against any and all exposure to tobacco smoke: whether a smoker or a second-hand bystander, no level of smoke is considered safe.

Social smokers often consider their habit “safer” because their exposure is limited to a cigarette here and there. Not so, claims the Surgeon General. Cigarette smoke immediately travels from the cigarette, into the lungs, and into the blood stream.

The toxins then attack the blood vessels, causing them to narrow, and even encourages clotting of the blood. This increases the person’s chance of heart attack or stroke.

Immediate Effects of Cigarette Smoke

There are numerous deadly effects of smoking on the body. Specific immediate effects pointed out by the Surgeon General include:

  • The blood pumped through the body carries the toxins from the tobacco to every organ, thus affecting every organ’s functioning.
  • The tobacco smoke’s toxins affect the body’s DNA, leading to different types of cancers.
  • The functions of the lungs are affected by the tobacco smoke’s poisons, leading to COPD.

While smoking for longer periods of time will increase the negative effects of smoking, no cigarette—not even one, and not even second-hand smoke—is a safe amount to be exposed to.

The Only Solution: Prevention

No matter how long a person has been smoking, quitting is the best thing that can be done to stop the poisoning and toxic effects of cigarettes on the body. Quitting at any stage gives your health a boost.

Reference: “Surgeon General: One Cigarette is One Too Many” by Lauran Neergaard
[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/09/surgeon-general-1-cigaret_n_794250.html\

New Zealand, Clearly Becoming Smoke-Free

If you want to stop smoking then pack your bag and fly over to New Zealand.

While you are there New Zealand tobacco regulatory agencies will offer you the facts on smoking dangers and by 2017 you may have to leave the country to buy tobacco products.

New Zealand is one of the many countries incorporating smoking bans, and like Canada they are banning smoking in your car.

Under the Influence While Driving

In New Zealand now you could be fined for smoking while driving in your car.

If you are a cigarette smoker you may be asking, “Do they fine people if they are not driving, but just sitting by the side of the road with the car ignition off?”

Or you might even ask, “Is there a smoking airbag that will explode if I am smoking in my car?”

Seriously, it does matter if you smoke while driving. You are polluting the air around you with second hand smoke. Windows up, windows down; it doesn’t matter.

Passengers who are riding with you including young children are also subject to your second hand smoke that could lead to potential harm, like contributing to asthma and other bronchial ailments.

It’s a Matter of Respecting Others


Young children are more at risk for these ailment because their lungs, like the rest of their bodies are still in the development stage.

The casual cigarette puff near a crib where an infant may be sleeping has been known to result in Sudden Death Syndrome. Children’s lungs actually take in more air because they breathe faster. They are unable to turn away from the smoke and of course infants do not know how harmful the smoke from tobacco is or even what it is.

A child who is around an adult smoker might draw closer to the lite cigarette because it is something new and their curious minds want to investigate. They do not know any better.

Adults may not want to smell your second hand smoke either. Many people are polite and will tolerate the fumes when they accompany you walking, driving or riding in a car.

Also, think about it. Many friends will endure second hand smoke before offending you. You might ask how you will feel if in time they suddenly fall victim of an unexplained bronchial infection, cancer, and other ailments that are known to be smoker related.

New Zealand’s Stop Regulations and Initiative

If we take the initiative and see what’s working for the people of New Zealand, (we are not saying they are doing everything right) we might learn something. Their smoking rates are considerably lower than those in other countries, including the US.

Why not concentrate on more aggressive efforts to teach our kids not to smoke. How about becoming a good example by not smoking nor exposing our children to friends who still smoke. These three actions would be a good start.

Paying higher premiums for healthcare services could also be a major game changer to help smokers quit.

New Zealand is on the right track to help smoking statistics drop in their country, which will in turn improve the quality of life for everyone. In fact, on September 5th,  2007, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in New Zealand called for the removal of tobacco from sale by 2017.

Smoking Related Fires: Unattended Smoking Materials Attribute to Natural Disasters, Civilian Deaths, and Injury Each Year

Smoking does not just cause health problems.

There are other cigarette dangers that go beyond the the obvious. They are a known fire hazard as well.

Fires caused by cigarette smoking are disastrous because an unattended cigarette can destroy an unknown number of lives directly and indirectly … and in an instant.

Statistics on Fires Related to Cigarette Smoking

Smoking accounts for more than 23,000 residential fires in a year nationwide. That’s why some insurance companies offer to reduce premiums if all the residents in the house do not smoke.

Insurance breaks for households where the occupants don’t smoke is probably one of the major reasons why smoking is no longer allowed inside or on the grounds of most work places hotels, restaurants, and pubs.

Unattended Cigarettes Cause Natural DisastersFACT: Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. Roughly one of every four fire deaths in 2007 was attributed to smoking materials.

In 2007, there were an estimated 140,700 smoking-material fires in the United States. These fires caused 720 civilian deaths and 1,580 civilian injuries.

More fatal smoking-material fires start in bedrooms than in living rooms, family rooms and dens.

Older adults are at the highest risk of death or injury from smoking-material fires even though they are less likely to smoke than younger adults.

The most common items first ignited in home smoking-material fire deaths were upholstered furniture, mattresses and bedding.

Worldwide the loss of material goods and real estate is in the billions of dollars.

Who Do Fires Caused by Cigarette Smoking Hurt the Most?

Young children are the most vulnerable because their inquisitiveness and thirst for knowledge make them easy targets for experimentation with things they do not quite understand.

Toddlers crawl from pillar to post putting things in their mouths like lighters, cigarettes (new and used) and pipes. They are only imitating what they see their adult mentors do on a daily basis.

And while your impression is that the toddler will not be able to light that cigarette — smoke that pipe — or knock over that ashtray — while you are out of the room, major fire disasters can erupt. For example: You are in the kitchen cooking dinner while you think little Johnny is in his bed taking nap and…

Injury to Adults and Seniors

Adults to seniors, although on the opposite end of the spectrum of young children, fair no better because they can get careless and nod off to sleep, dropping that lit cigarette on a mattress, sofa, or carpet.  Smoke inhalation is such a powerful thing that it can keep you asleep longer and deeper than that well known brand of sleeping pill.

The Other Loss

We must also mention those who are left grieving for their lost loved one. We must also mention the family that survived the fire is left behind to grieve for the loved ones they lost. They’re still trying to understand how something so small as a cigarette could have caused so much damage.

And then there is the neighbor, tired after a 10 hour work day.  She arrives home while on the way thinking about a nice hot bath and a good night’s sleep to learn that she is suddenly homeless. The cigarette smoker next door may have caused a fire that consumed everything she owned other than the clothes on her back and the shoes on her feet.

Consider the Risk, Consider the Disaster

Cigarettes are the number one cause of house fire fatalities. And we haven’t even mentioned outdoor fires causes by careless smokers.

Fires caused by cigarettes result in around eight-hundred plus deaths each year. These fires usually occur when a smoker falls asleep without extinguishing a cigarette.

House fires from unattended cigarettes generally occurs at night, when the whole family is asleep, which can make it difficult for everyone to evacuate in time.

If you or another family member has a tobacco habit, make sure that no one ever smokes in bed.

As of March 2010, all 50 US states passed legislation and achieved their goal in getting cigarette manufacturers to produce only cigarettes that adhere to an established safety performance standard.

If you do smoke think about others. Stay alert and only smoke outside away from non smokers (and dispose of the butts properly). It is better for your family’s health and this one action will reduce the risk of a house fire.

Or better yet, don’t smoke at all and relieve everyone around you from an unnecessary potential disaster.

Unlocking the Secrets of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Exclusive: A major new report seen by the IoS has revealed that smoking holds the key to a mystery that has baffled doctors and brought heartache to thousands.

Nine out of 10 mothers whose babies suffered cot death smoked during pregnancy, according to a scientific study to be published this week.

The study, thought to be one of the most authoritative to date on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), says women who smoke during pregnancy are four times more likely than non-smokers to see their child fall victim to cot death.

The comprehensive report will make a strong case for the Government to increase the scope of anti-smoking legislation. It even suggests a possible move to try to ban pregnant women from getting tobacco altogether.

Baby in CribThe study, produced by Bristol University’s Institute of Child Life and Health, is based on analysis of the evidence of 21 international studies on smoking and cot death.

The report, co-authored by Peter Fleming, professor of infant health and developmental physiology, and Dr Peter Blair, senior research fellow, will be published this week in the medical journal Early Human Development.

The report urges the Government “to emphasise the adverse effects of tobacco smoke exposure to infants and among pregnant women”. It also warns that this year’s ban on smoking in public places must not result in an increased exposure of infants or pregnant woman at home – smoking in their presence should be seen as being “anti-social, potentially dangerous, and unacceptable”.

The study points out that many mothers and mothers-to-be have not heeded warnings about smoking and may need to have their access to tobacco restricted. “Given the power that tobacco addiction holds over its victims, there is grave concern as to whether it will be a successfully modifiable risk factor without fundamental changes in tobacco availability to vulnerable individuals,” it states.

Scientists are working to the theory that exposure to smoke during the pregnancy or just after birth has an effect on brain chemicals in the foetus or in infants, increasing the risk of SIDS.

The Government is considering whether it should change its advice on smoking. It recommends that pregnant women should not drink alcohol at all, but simply recommends that mothers and fathers “cut smoking in pregnancy”.

These findings will add weight to calls from doctors earlier this year for a ban on parents smoking indoors where children are present. Professor Robert West, of University College London, the Government’s most senior smoking adviser, said: “We can apply powerful social pressure on parents not to smoke in the house.”

Speaking about the new report, Dr Blair said: “If smoking is a cause of SIDS, and the evidence suggests it is, we think that if all parents stopped smoking tomorrow more than 60 per cent of SIDS deaths would be prevented.”

According to the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), at least 300 babies in the UK each year die suddenly and unexpectedly, mostly between the ages of one month and four months. SIDS is the biggest killer of babies over a month old, claiming more deaths than traffic accidents, leukaemia and meningitis put together.

The issue has prompted a number of high-profile criminal convictions against mothers such as Angela Cannings and Sally Clark. Mrs Cannings suffered the deaths of three babies who died in their cribs. Mrs Clark had two infants who were taken by SIDS. Both women were jailed but later had their convictions overturned and were released in 2003. Mrs Cannings, whose family smoked, was too upset by personal matters to comment yesterday on the findings of this latest study. Mrs Clark, a non-smoker, died last March.

Although scientists are still trying to understand precisely why babies die so young, medical research is providing effective steps that parents can take to reduce the risk of it happening.

Anti-smoking messages have provided some benefits: in the past 15 years, researchers found that the proportion of smokers among all pregnant mothers in the UK has fallen from 30 to 20 per cent.

Nevertheless, according to another study, in 1984 57 percent of babies who died from SIDS had mothers who smoked during pregnancy. This had increased to 86 per cent by 2003. It is thought that the huge rise in the proportion of SIDS mothers who smoke is at least to some degree a result of the Back to Sleep campaign which was launched in 1991, and which appears to have had a dramatic effect in reducing cot death.

The key message of this campaign was that parents should put their baby on its back to sleep. Since then, the number of SIDS deaths has fallen by three-quarters. The proportion of SIDS babies found lying face down has fallen from 89 per cent to 24 per cent.

The campaign has also changed the social profile of parents whose infants have died from SIDS. Before the Back to Sleep campaign, fewer than half were from lower socio-economic classes, considered to be “deprived”. Now, this proportion has risen to 74 per cent.

The researchers now believe that laying babies face down has been largely removed as the main reason for SIDS. The remaining primary dangers are exposure to tobacco smoke and other factors possibly linked to deprivation.

“The risk of unexpected infant death is greatly increased by both prenatal and postnatal exposure to tobacco smoke,” said Dr Blair. “We should aim to achieve a ‘smoke-free zone’ around pregnant women and infants.

“Reduction of prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke, by reducing smoking in pregnancy, and of postnatal exposure to tobacco, by not allowing smoking in the home, will substantially reduce the risk of SIDS.”

There are a number of theories to explain how smoking could affect the baby. Babies exposed to tobacco could have breathing problems. Lung development in the growing foetus could be hindered. Another theory is that levels of brain chemicals are affected by smoke exposure.

“Exposure to tobacco smoke, either prenatally or postnatally, will lead to a complex range of effects upon normal physiological and anatomical development in foetal and postnatal life, together with an increased incidence of acute viral infection that places infants at greatly increased risk of SIDS,” says the Bristol University study.

Deborah Arnott, the director of ASH, the anti-smoking charity, said that this report should provoke a strong government campaign to highlight the risks of women smoking while pregnant, and of parents smoking in the home.

“Because of other advice on avoiding cot death, smoking has become an increasingly important trigger and we are very concerned that there is a lack of understanding of how important it is,” she said.

A YouGov poll commissioned for ASH at the end of August showed only 17 per cent of respondents thought second-hand smoke had a big impact on cot-death risk, and 26 per cent that it had “some impact”. But Ms Arnott does not believe the public ban will necessarily increase smoking at home. She added: “About 85 per cent of smoke is invisible and people think it isn’t having an impact if they smoke in a room where the baby isn’t, but it moves around the house. Our advice is, if you have a baby and cannot give up, don’t smoke in the home or car and use nicotine gum or patches for cravings. Being realistic, banning smoking in the home isn’t something we can do.”

Catherine Parker-Littler, a midwife and founder of midwivesonline.com, said that her confidential service has received emails from smokers who lost infants to cot death. “In our ‘Ask a Midwife’ service, we have definitely had emails from a small number of parents who smoke about their experience in terms of a cot death,” she said. “Some are about feelings of guilt.”

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said: “This is an interesting report which we will study carefully and consider whether we need to change our advice. At the moment, our advice on how best to reduce the chances of cot death is based on the best available scientific evidence. We advise parents to cut out smoking in pregnancy and not to share a bed with your baby if you are a smoker.”

Falsely accused: Bereaved – and then tried for murder

The court cases of Angela Cannings and Sally Clark became bywords for miscarriages of justice after both were wrongly convicted of murdering their children.

Ms Cannings, from Salisbury in Wiltshire, was jailed for life in April 2002 after she was found guilty of smothering her two sons, seven-week old Jason in 1991 and 18-week-old Matthew in 1999.

Ms Cannings, 43, maintained her babies died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and was eventually freed in 2003. Her marriage has since broken down and she has left the family home. During her appeal, Professor Robert Carpenter, a medical statistics expert, said the babies had been at a “substantially increased risk” of cot deaths because they may have been exposed to cigarette smoke.

“The Cannings family smoked and the children slept prone,” he told the Court of Appeal in 2003.

But the link between smoking and cot death is not a certainty, as the case of Sally Clark shows.

Mrs Clark, who died in March at the age of 42, was jailed for life in 1999 for murdering her two sons, eight-week old Harry and 11-week-old Christopher. Her conviction was finally overturned in 2003.

The Clarks were affluent non-smokers, factors that led Professor Sir Roy Meadow, a consultant pediatrician and expert witness in both trials, to wrongly conclude that the chances of two cot deaths in such a family was “one in 73 million”.

Mrs Clark was released after a second appeal found her children had died of natural causes. She never recovered from her ordeal.

Source: Roger Dobson, Senay Boztas, and Ian Griggs, The Independent

Tobacco Smoke Effects Moves From the Lungs to the Kidneys

“Some of the carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) in tobacco smoke are absorbed from the lungs and get into the blood.

From the blood, they are filtered by the kidneys and concentrated in the urine.” ~~ Dr Visal A Khan

Smoking is systemic, and the chemicals in tobacco do not stop effecting your body until after quitting smoking your immune system has a chance to restore your health.

“A cigarette is a euphemism for a cleverly crafted product that delivers just the right amount of nicotine to keep its user addicted for life before killing the person.”
~WHO