How passive smoking can cause cancer

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The rose is a symbol of love, care and concern. On September 22 every year, Rose Day is observed, for all the people all over the world who are battling cancer. It is observed in the memory of 12-year-old Melinda Rose from Canada, who was diagnosed with Askin’s Tumour, which is a rare form of blood cancer.
Doctors had said that she would not live for more than a few weeks, but she lived for six more months. During this period, she managed to cheer up other patients suffering from cancer by writing letters, poems and emails.
The purpose of celebrating Rose Day is to remind all cancer patients that they can face this disease with their spirit and will power. Being aware about cancer is not only important for supporting those going through it, but also for preventing it. Awareness programs which are held on Rose Day help raise awareness about this dreaded disease.
One way in which we can cut down on cancers such as lung cancer, is by reducing the passive smoke that we inhale. But what is passive smoking?
Inhaling smoke that has been breathed out by a smoker and smoke from the burning end of cigarettes, cigars and pipes is known as passive smoking.
“Tobacco smoke is composed of nearly 4,000 different chemicals and over 150 toxins including carbon monoxide which can be lethal in long-term exposure. Over 38% of children between the ages of two months to five years are exposed to passive smoking at home,” says Dr. K.S. Kirushnakumar, a senior consultant and the head of the radiation oncology department in Meenakshi Mission Hospital in Madurai.Exposure to any environment where people are smoking tobacco and inhaling the smoke can potentially affect a passive smoker. Lung cancer, coughing and wheezing, asthma, sore throats and colds, eye irritation and hoarseness are widely caused by passive smoking.
“A smoker’s wife, children or anybody in the room or surroundings inhale the second hand smoke released by the smoker. This is how passive smoking occurs. Passive smoking causes more chance of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer in wives of smokers,” says Dr. P.T. James, HOD, Pulmonary Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi.
So how does one limit their exposure to passive smoking?
“The effects of passive smoking can be avoided by limiting exposure to people who smoke. Strict laws to provide smoke-free areas in workplaces and outdoors/ public places can also be helpful in the prevention of passive smoking,” says Dr. Kirushnakumar.
Dr. James advises that smokers should be motivated to kick the habit. He also advises that one should visit non smoking restaurants, although your friends might not agree so easily to that suggestion!
Children also play a big role and can tell elders in the house to stop smoking. Easier said than done? The most effective way of doing this is by telling them “Your smoking is injurious to our health too.”