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World No Tobacco Day: Know the Dangers of Passive Smoking

On World Tobacco Day 2019, the global health body warns that an estimated 60,000 children die before the age of 5 of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke.

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Updated:May 31, 2019, 10:21 AM IST
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World No Tobacco Day: Know the Dangers of Passive Smoking
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World No Tobacco Day is being observed today by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners to raise awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure. On World Tobacco Day 2019, the global health body warns that an estimated 60,000 children die before the age of 5 of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke.

“Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increase risk of developing COPD in adulthood,” it says.

In other words, abstaining from smoking doesn’t guarantee you protection from the harmful effects of tobacco. You also need to steer clear of passive or second-hand smoking.

The perils of passive or second-hand smoking

Infants exposed to tobacco smoke toxins, through maternal smoking or maternal exposure to second-hand smoke, frequently experience reduced lung growth and function, the WHO warns.

“Young children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of the onset and exacerbation of asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis, and frequent lower respiratory infections.”

Adults who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at the risk of suffering from coronary heart disease, strokes and lung cancer.

Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. The smoke can linger in the air for up to five hours, putting those exposed at risk of lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and reduced lung function.

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