There is a large body of toxicological, experimental, and epidemiological data, collected since the 1950s, that has established that tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the world, producing more than 5 million deaths a year.
Environmental tobacco smoke is made up of more than 4,000 chemicals. Exposed non-smokers have increased morbidity-mortality from cardiovascular disease.
There are two kinds of tobacco smoke: mainstream, which is what the smoker inhales into its lungs when inhaling the cigarette, and secondary or sidestream, which is smoke that is released into the environment between puffs. Environmental tobacco smoke is the smoke that remains in an environment where people are smoking.
Sidestream smoke has higher concentrations of some toxic substances, so indoor tobacco use concentrates these levels of breathable particles, such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, acrolein, formaldehyde, and many more substances that cause cancer in human beings.
Passive smokers have an increased risk of lung, sinus, and breast cancer. In children, there is a greater number of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms, lower respiratory infections, otitis media, and sudden infant death syndrome. Environmental tobacco smoke favors the exacerbation of bronchial asthma in children and adults.
Non-smokers feel discomfort when exposed to tobacco smoke, they may experience eye irritation, headache, dizziness, tiredness, pharyngeal pain, nausea, cough, or shortness of breath.
Environmental tobacco smoke is one of the most widespread and harmful indoor air pollutants to non-smokers both in homes and in workplaces.
Awareness of the numerous and serious damages caused to health by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke will help raise awareness to change the social perception of tobacco so that its public consumption is rejected and non-smoker protection policies are encouraged.
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