Friday, 9 February 2007

Second Hand Smoke? No, Thanks.

As I said in an earlier post, I do not suffer second-hand smoke gladly. I feel no compunction about removing myself from a smoky environment, and I do not feel that I have to apologize for doing this. Protecting my health matters more to me than not hurting a smoker's feelings. Especially if the smoker seems not to care that others may not wish to inhale noxious fumes.

I can't count the number of times I've walked away from people in the middle of a conversation because they lit up without asking if it bothered me. Before walking away, I would always explain that I liked to avoid second-hand smoke . It never even occurred to me to grin and bear it, or more aptly, inhale it. I felt that if someone was inconsiderate enough to light up without asking me if I minded the smoke, they couldn't take the high moral ground if I interrupted the conversation and moved away. I feel sorry for the babies who can't do the same when their parents smoke over them. That's something I can't understand - why anyone would do that to their child. But then there's a lot about smoking that I don't understand.

It's generally known now that second-hand smoking is bad for the health. A new study in the US shows that up to 20% of women who develop lung cancer have never smoked. In men, 8% of lung cancer patients are non smokers. It is not clear why the figure is much higher in women: perhaps women are more susceptible to smoking, whether it is direct or second hand.

The researchers know that second-hand smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. They believe many of the cases they studied can be attributed to this. The leading cause of lung cancer is smoking, but radon, asbestos, chromium and arsenic are also associated with the disease.

Anyone still in doubt as to whether second-hand smoking is dangerous to health may want to read this article about the new research.

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