5 Effects of Second-hand Smoke on Lungs

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“Smoking is injurious to health.”

We all are aware of this sentence but this is not the whole story. It only depicts the one-sided story and is all about the person directly involved in smoking. But it is a fact that most of the smoke produced during smoking does not go to the lungs of a smoker. Rest of the smoke remains in the environment around and if someone is present there will be effected highly due to inhaling of this smoke.

“The second-hand smoke contains a combination of two clouds of smoke; one from the burning of a cigarette (mainstream smoke) and other from the exhalation of a smoker (sidestream smoke) and this is also known as passive smoke.”

It is a proven fact that second-hand smoke contains more than seven thousand chemicals in it and 70 of them can cause cancer. The general thought is that smoking causes toxic effects only to the lungs of a smoker but in reality, those who live with a smoker are never risk-free. They are more vulnerable to the lungs diseases. And this risk level goes up to 20 to 30% for the non-smokers inhaling second-hand smoke.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Smoking Is the Worst Habit Not a Fashion

It is a general matter of consideration that if you are a smoker, your family especially children are at high risk of developing lungs diseases.

Risks Due To Second-hand Smoke

In the following, some medical conditions have been explained that can affect the non-smokers due to exposure to second-hand smoke.

These include:

Lung Cancer

When non-smokers come in contact with the secondhand smoke they are approximately at the same level of risk for lung cancer as the smoker.

The level of second-smoke can be measured in an environment by measuring the amount of cotinine (a by-product produced as a result of the breakdown of nicotine in a cigarette) in non-smokers blood, urine or saliva secretions. In this process of damage, exposure period to second-hand smoke is very important as it depicts the risk level.


This condition is mainly caused due to some bacteria but exposure to the secondhand smoke could be a cause of this disease as in this smoke all those irritants and chemicals are present which qualify for bronchitis.

As there are two types of bronchitis such as; acute and chronic. It is considered that the later type (chronic) of this disease is caused due to the repeated irritation and damage to the lungs as well as the airway tissues. And this irritation and damage are thought to be developed during the exposure of second-hand smoke.


This disease is caused by passive smoke in children younger than the age of 18 months. Coughing, chest congestion and decreased lung function area usually accompanied with this disease.

Asthma Attacks

Passive smoking may cause the development of asthma in children. And it could be a major cause of asthma attacks in patients with asthma when they get exposed to the passive smoke.

Must Read: 5 Best Pulmonologists in Lahore

A Chronic Cough

It is the most usual medical condition caused due to second-hand smoking. It is common for both smokers and non-smokers who are highly exposed to passive smoke.

If you are living with a person who is a smoker then you are at high risk of developing all these diseases. If the symptoms start appearing, you need to find and consult the best Pulmonologist/Lung specialist in Karachi or other cities of Pakistan immediately in order to seek professional advice.

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Sehar Mangat
She is a Registered Pharmacist by profession. She has professional experience of patient counseling at well-known hospital setups of Pakistan. She is passionate to serve mankind with her medical knowledge and writing skills. Recently; playing her role well as a content writer at Marham.