Tag Archives: cigarette smoke

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

Smoking Link to Cot Death Underestimated by Majority 0f Parents

Seventy per cent of parents are not aware of the extent of the cot death risk posed by smoking in the home.

A poll(1), conducted for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) during the first two weeks of the ban on smoking in enclosed public places, found that 70 percent of parents of young children (aged 0-3) either significantly underestimated or did not know how much more likely cot death was if a baby is exposed to tobacco smoke for one hour every day.

A baby who regularly spends one hour a day in a smoky environment is twice as likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – or cot death – as a baby who lives in a smoke-free home.(2)

Forty-seven per cent of parents polled, however, thought that there was either no risk or a much lower risk than is in fact the case, while 23 percent couldn’t estimate the risk from the options given.

The poll also found that a greater proportion of families on lower incomes than higher incomes (76 percent as opposed to 56 percent) were unaware of the extent of the risk. A greater proportion of parents in the North of England (75 percent) and the Midlands (74 percent) than parents in the South (65 percent) and in London (60 percent) were unaware of the extent of the risk.

FSID-funded cot death researcher Professor Peter Fleming of Bristol University says:

“We all know about the danger that secondhand smoke poses to the public and yet we expose children to cigarette smoke in the home. Parents need to be aware of the threat that smoke poses to their children and protect them by enforcing their own smoke-free zones at home.”

Joyce Epstein, FSID’s director, says: “Even if parents do smoke, they can have a really positive effect on reducing the risk of cot death by making their home a smoke-free zone and always going outside to smoke. And smokers should never share a bed with their baby, even if they don’t smoke in bed.”

Nearly every day in the UK a family suffers the tragedy of a cot death. It remains the leading cause of death for babies over one month old, but about 30 per cent of these deaths could be avoided if parents didn’t smoke around their children. As the smoking ban comes into force, there is the risk that people will smoke more at home, exposing more infants to secondhand cigarette smoke and increasing the risk of cot death.

Photo of Child in CribSmoking in pregnancy is also dangerous. A woman who smokes 1-9 cigarettes a day during pregnancy is more than 4 times as likely to have a baby die as a cot death than a woman who didn’t smoke at all during pregnancy.

Women who did smoke when they were pregnant should try not to expose their babies to smoke after birth as this can help reduce the risk of cot death.

(1) The research was conducted via a face-to-face omnibus from 28 June-13 July 2007 by Ipsos MORI’s Global Omnibus Services division. A nationally representative sample of 449 parents of children aged 0-3 in Great Britain were interviewed (with the data subsequently weighted to the known profile of this population). 37% of households had one or more smoker. 47% of respondents underestimated the cot death risk if a baby spent one hour every day in a room where people smoked, including 6% who thought there would be no effect on the chances of cot death, 17% who thought the chances would increase by one-tenth, and 24% who thought the chances would increase by half. 23% didn’t know how the chances would be affected. 30% accurately stated that the chance of a cot death would double.

(2) The UK’s largest ever cot death study (Fleming, P et al (2000), Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infancy – the CESDI/SUDI Studies, The Stationery Office, London) found that the more hours babies were exposed to tobacco smoke each day the greater the risk of cot death. Babies who were exposed to 1-2 hours of smoke a day, were 2.43 times more likely to die than those who had no exposure to tobacco smoke. The risk was 3.84 times greater if the baby was exposed for 3-5 hours a day, rising to 5.89 times the risk for 6-8 hours of daily exposure and to 8.3 times the risk after 8 hours or more of regular tobacco smoke exposure. The risk of death also rose with the number of smokers in the household. A family with one smoker had nearly 5 times the risk of a cot death of a non-smoking household, while there was 11 times the risk if two people smoked and 16 times the risk if three or more people smoked.

About FSID

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths is the UK’s leading baby charity working to prevent sudden infant deaths and promote infant health.

FSID funds research (nearly £10 million to date); supports bereaved families; promotes baby care advice; and works to improve investigations when a baby dies.

The UK’s cot death rate has fallen by 75% since the campaign to reduce the risk of cot death was launched in 1991, and we estimate that 25,000 babies’ lives have been saved. Cot death is still the biggest killer of babies over one month old in the UK today, claiming around 300 infants’ lives every year – that’s more than road traffic accidents, leukemia, and meningitis put together.


Source: Medical News Today

Survey Finds Americans Do Not Know What is In a Cigarette

A new survey released today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids finds that most Americans are not aware of the dangerous chemicals in cigarettes and cigarette smoke.

The survey found that 71 percent of adults and 79 percent of teens could not name a single chemical found in cigarette smoke, other than tar and nicotine. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 that cause cancer and many more that are hazardous.

Chemicals in cigarette smoke include arsenic (used in rat poison, causes cancer in humans), ammonia (used in household cleaners, can irritate the respiratory tract and elevate blood pressure), formaldehyde (used to embalm bodies, causes nasal cancer and can damage the lungs, skin and digestive system), and polonium 210 (a highly radioactive element that causes cancer).

To raise awareness about these and other hazardous chemicals in cigarettes, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has launched a new web site — http://www.whatareyousmoking.org

Picture of a Man Reaching for CigaretteThe survey also found powerful evidence that children are still being bombarded by tobacco advertising. Teens are almost twice as likely as adults to recall seeing advertising for cigarettes or spit tobacco in the previous two weeks — 49 percent of teens recalled seeing tobacco advertising, while only 26 percent of adults did.

According to the latest report from the Federal Trade Commission, the tobacco companies spend more than $15.4 billion a year to market their products in the U.S. — $42 million a day. Tobacco companies have more than doubled their marketing since the 1998 state tobacco settlement, which was supposed to restrict tobacco marketing. A federal judge last year, ruling that the tobacco companies have violated civil racketeering laws, found that the tobacco companies continue to market to children.

The survey was released as thousands of young people across the country rally against tobacco for the twelfth annual Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (for a list of events in each state, visit http://www.kickbuttsday.org

This year, health advocates are urging Congress to pass legislation granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate tobacco products. Among other things, the legislation would: require that tobacco companies disclose the contents of tobacco products and remove harmful ingredients; crack down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids; stop tobacco companies from misleading the public about health risks of their products; and require larger, more effective health warnings on cigarette packs.

“These survey results demonstrate powerfully why tobacco products — the most deadly products sold in America — cannot remain one of the least regulated products sold in America,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “It’s time for Congress to end the deadly status quo that allows tobacco companies to control what they put in their products, what they tell us about them and how they are marketed. By granting the FDA authority over tobacco products, Congress can stop the tobacco industry from targeting our children and misleading the public. We hope this survey and Kick Butts Day will inspire elected leaders across the nation to support effective measures to protect children and save lives.”

Nationwide, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs more than $96 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 23 percent of high school students smoke and more than 1,000 kids become new regular smokers every day.

The national telephone survey of 510 teens aged 12-17 was conducted through International Communications Research (ICR) Teen Excel Study from March 7-11, 2007, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. The national telephone survey of 1,012 adults was also conducted through ICR’s Excel on March 7-11, 2007, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Due to rounding, total numbers may not equal 100 percent. Detailed survey results can be found at: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/pdf/2007poll.pdf
Contact: Nicole Dueffert, 202-296-5469

Source: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids