Even if you’re a non-smoker, tobacco smoke can still cause many health problems. Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), also known as secondhand smoke or passive smoke, contains over 4,000 chemical compounds. Over 60 of these chemicals are known or suspected of causing cancer. These chemicals include ammonia, arsenic, cadmium and carbon monoxide. ETS is classified as a "known human carcinogen" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IRAC).
ETS is a combination of 2 forms of smoke:
- Mainstream Smoke – smoke exhaled by smokers
- Sidestream Smoke – smoke coming from the end of a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe
ETS takes a tremendous toll on human life; an estimated 35,000 deaths occur in the United States from heart disease in individuals who are non-smokers that live with smokers. In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General published a report titled: "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure To Tobacco Smoke". Here are some of the important conclusions drawn from the report:
- Evidence indicates there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke
- Adults exposed to ETS experience immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system which can lead to coronary heart disease and lung cancer
- Children exposed to ETS are at greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Studies have shown that ETS is especially dangerous for children. Children that are routinely exposed to cigarette smoking are more likely to experience increased frequency of the following:
- Sinus infections
- Middle ear infections
- Asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and other lung diseases
If you live with a smoker who won’t stop smoking, there are ways you can protect yourself from the dangers of ETS. One way is using a high quality residential air cleaner or smoke eater. These robust units not only get rid of the smoke, but air purifiers that employ activated carbon can also remove the foul tobacco odor. The key to selecting an effective smoke eater is to find instruments that offer a high CFM. The secret to cleaning the air is moving the air. A high rate of CFM will allow more air exchanges per hour, helping to provide you with clean, fresh smelling air.