MadSci Network: Medicine
Query:

Re: Is effect of second-hand smoke overrated?

Date: Sat Sep 18 06:49:35 1999
Posted By: Dr. Neeraj Kulkarni, Medical student, Completing internship, V.M.Medical college
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 936006271.Me
Message:

Dear friend ,
I feel that many scientific papers published in this matter of 
harmful effect of passive smoking .And mind me there is no doubt about its 
harmful effects.
i even remember one employee of british company getting compensation from 
her company for her chronic bronchitis after rightly pursued legal battle. 
Here I am providing you some information regarding passive smoking.
Regarding ur 2nd question I feel infant below 2yr old or foetus in utero 
will be at more risk due to passive smoking than older one though at the 
moment I haven't any scientific evidence in my hand to prove I am right on 
this matter. 
      What is passive smoking and why make a fuss now?

       "Passive smoking" is the term used for breathing in other peopleís 
tobacco smoke. This form of smoking is usually involuntary and is 
particularly dangerous because the smoke that drifts from the end of a lit 
cigarette contains far greater amounts of cancer-causing chemicals and 
other toxic substances than the smoke inhaled by the smoker. These 
chemicals include ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, nicotine and five 
different compounds known to cause cancer.The smoke particles involved in 
passive smoking are also smaller, so they can be inhaled more deeply into 
the non-smokerís lungs. It has only come to light over the last 20 years, 
through rigorous scientific  research, that passive smoking is dangerous. 
Now, it would be irresponsible not to acknowledge the wealth of evidence on 
the subject and take appropriate action to protect the health of employees 
and the general public.Years ago people unknowingly worked with asbestos 
but, now, no-one willingly exposes themselves to this deadly substance. 
Like asbestos, cigarette smoke is now classified as a "Group A" cancer 
causing agent in the US.Renowned British medical researcher Professor Sir 
Richard Doll has said that the risk of developing lung cancer from passive 
smoking is as much as 90 times higher than the risk of developing an 
asbestos-related cancer due to asbestos in buildings.
 What does cigarette smoke do to the non-smoker?
assive smoking is known to cause the following health problems:
Lung cancer - Non smokers living with a smoker have a 30%increase in the 
risk of developing lung cancer.Heart disease - Non smokers living with a 
smoker have a 24%increase in the risk of heart attack or death from 
coronary heart disease.Asthma, respiratory illness, glue ear and an 
increase in the risk of sudden infant death in children. Estimated 46,500 
cases of asthma caused annually in Australia by passive smoking.       
Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.Health effects are greatest for 
people working in hospitality areas because this is where concentrations of 
environmental tobacco smoke are greatest. Some of these workers inhale the 
equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. 
   Who says itís so dangerous?
 There are hundreds of studies on the effects of passive smoking but, more
 importantly, there have been major reviews conducted on the scientific
 evidence by national and international research authorities including:    
 International Agency for Research on Cancer. Tobacco Smoking. Lyon:       
International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1985 (IARC Monographs on
 the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans, Volume    
   38) US Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences 
of Involuntary Smoking. A report of the Surgeon General.Rockville, 
Maryland: US Department of Health and Human Services,Public Health Service, 
Centres for Disease Control, Centre for Health Promotion and Education, 
Office on Smoking and Health, 1986. DHHS Publication No (CDC)87-8398.      
Committee on Passive Smoking. Environmental Tobacco Smoke Ė Measuring 
exposures and assessing health effects. Committee on PassiveSmoking, Board 
on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, National Research Council. 
Washington: National Academy Press, 1986.National Research Council 
Committee on Passive Smoking.enviornmental tobacco smoke: Measuring 
exposures and assessing health effects. Board on Environmental Studies and 
Toxicology, National  Research Council. Washington DC: National Academy 
Press, 1986:241-242.

       National Health and Medical Research Council. Effects of Passive
       Smoking on Health. Report of the NH & MRC Working Party on the 
Effects
       of Passive Smoking on Health. Adopted at the 101st Session of the 
Council,
       June 1986. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1987.

       Fourth Report of the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking
       and Health. (Chairman: Sir Peter Froggatt). London: HMSO, 1988.

       United States Environmental Protection Agency. Respiratory health
       effects of passive smoking: Lung cancer and other disorders. 
Publication
       EPA/600/6-90/006F. Washington DC: United States Environmental
       Protection Agency. December, 1992.

       Working Party on Smoking and the Young. Royal College of Physicians
       of London. Smoking and the Young. London: Royal College of 
Physicians of
       London, 1992.

       Environmental tobacco smoke and cardiovascular disease. A position
       paper from the Council on Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care, 
American
       Heart Association. Circulation 1992: 86:699-702.

       Californian Environmental Protection Agency. Health effects of 
exposure
       to environmental tobacco smoke. Dunn A, Zeise L (eds). Office of
       Environment Hazard, California USA, September 1997.

       National Health and Medical Research Council. The Health Effects of
       Passive Smoking: A Scientific Information Paper. Adopted at the 
125th
       Session of the Council, November 1997. Canberra: Australian 
Government
       Publishing Service, 1997.

       The UK Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health. Report of the
       Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (Chaired by Prof David
       Poswillo). Department of Health. The Stationery Office, March 1998. 

       Who is trying to throw doubt on the harm caused by
       passive smoking?

       In May 1998, British American Tobacco (BAT) "leaked" results of a 
study
       undertaken jointly by the World Health Organization and the 
International
       Agency for Research on Cancer. BAT claimed that the study showed the
       risks of passive smoking were insignificant. They also alleged that 
these
       results were being suppressed for political reasons.

       In fact the study, which had already been presented at an open 
scientific
       meeting, shows that non-smokers are:

       16% more likely to get lung cancer from passive smoking at home. 

       17% more likely to get lung cancer from passive smoking at work. 

       These results are entirely consistent with other studies and the 
major,
       independent scientific reviews cited earlier that show an increased 
risk of
       lung cancer from passive smoking. They have not been suppressed - at 
the
       time of BAT's "leak", the data had been submitted for publication to 
a
       leading medical journal and were part way through the normal process 
of
       anonymous peer-review. The paper is expected to appear in the 
scientific
       press later in 1998.

       Isnít air pollution more dangerous? 

       Air pollution can cause and aggravate respiratory symptoms. However,
       unlike passive smoking, there is no conclusive evidence that air 
pollution
       causes lung cancer. It has been estimated that non-smokers have a 
25%
       higher risk of developing cancer from passive smoking than from 
indoor
       radon. This risk is about 57 times greater than the estimated cancer 
risk
       from all the hazardous outdoor air pollutants currently regulated by 
the US
       Environmental Protection Agency.

       Is there a safe level of passive smoking?

       As scientific and medical authorities have concluded that there is 
no safe
       level of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, any degree of 
passive
       smoking is potentially harmful.




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