It’s impossible to deny the dangers associated with smoking cigarettes for both smokers and the people around them. We all know that secondhand smoke is harmful, but less obvious is just how easy it is to pollute your indoor air with cigarettes. Just one or two cigarettes will do significant damage. Even if no one in your immediate family smokes, it’s critical to set boundaries with visitors that might be smokers.
Those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke are small children and the elderly. While it can be awkward and feel confrontational to set these boundaries – especially with certain family members! – you protect the health of your whole family by doing so.
Shoot for Clean Indoor Air – The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke
There are some pretty alarming statistics linked to secondhand smoke alone:
- 20-30% increased risk of heart disease
- 20-30% increased risk of lung cancer
- Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome for babies exposed to secondhand smoke
- More frequent ear infections in children exposed to secondhand smoke
- Increased risk of ADHD in children exposed to tobacco smoke
Designating an Ideal Smoking Area
Contrary to what some people believe, opening a window does not eliminate the risks of indoor smoking in the home or vehicle. In an ideal world, no one would smoke cigarettes at all. Until that day comes, it’s wise to have a designated area for smokers to go. The ideal place is an area that diminishes the risk of others being exposed to the secondhand smoke.
The following guidelines from the EPA can help you determine where that might be near your home:
- Should not be near any entryways, windows, or air ducts into the home.
- Should not be near anywhere children play.
- If outdoors, should not be anywhere where airflow directly affects entryways or windows.
- If indoors, such as a shed or detached garage, should be well ventilated. Consider adding a smoke-reducing air purifier to indoor smoking areas.
Steps to Reduce Third Hand Smoke
It’s important to reduce exposure to third hand smoke as well. Third hand smoke is the residue left on a person’s body and clothes after smoking. We’ve all had that experience where you’re standing next to someone and you just know they are a smoker or spend a lot of time with one! That’s third hand smoke at work.
To lower that chances of third hand smoke entering the home, ask guests to wash their hands when they come in from smoking. Also, consider keeping a coat hanger just outside the door by the doormat rather than inside, to lessen the amount of third hand smoke enters the home on clothing.
Setting these boundaries with your family or other people in your life might not be the most fun thing in the world to do, but your home will be a much healthier place to be when all is said and done!
May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!