Smoking is easily among the most widespread hobbies in the world. Nicotine is also perhaps the second most abused substance in the world, followed closely by alcohol. Medical science has already presented quite a bit of evidence to show that smoking has adverse effects of smoking on one’s health, though for many years, smokers persisted that second-hand smoke was not harmful to the human body.
Only recently has data detailing the effects of inhaling or exposure to second-hand smoke been put to light, dispelling the myth that only smokers were at risk of smoking. Even more recently, information has leaked that certain individuals may be at more risk at the effects of smoking than others.
Science has found enough evidence to point out that second-hand smoke is more dangerous than first-hand smoke, primarily because there is no filter to “soften” the blow. It has generally been accepted that second-hand smoke and the effects of smoking were roughly similar no matter who had been exposed to it.
However, recent studies found that the younger the person being exposed to the smoke, the more potential damage could be done to that person’s respiratory system. The lungs of young children and infants, in particular, are at a critical stage of development and, theoretically, even small amounts of smoke can cause irreparable damage to their system. The effects of smoking also extend further, with medical science finally confirming that tobacco, like alcohol, has effects on developing fetuses in pregnant women.
The first noticeable effect was in the weight of the newborns who were carried to term by smoking mothers. The newborns were noticeably far below the average weight, with some being dangerously small upon birth. Long-term observations have also found that children who were born from mothers who smoked during pregnancy were at greater risk of exhibiting symptoms of developmental and behavioral disorders later on in life. There have also been some pieces of information that suggest that, among the effects of smoking, it is also possible for a child to be more susceptible to mood disorders if the mother smoked while pregnant. Learning disabilities are also increasingly common among children born under such circumstances, with cerebral palsy being among the more common.
Children are at considerably higher risk than adults when it comes to smoking and the dangerous effects it has. Asthma is among the most common of the many possible consequences, with roughly 100,000 to 200,000 cases of childhood asthma are worsened by second-hand smoke. The estimates on how many cases of childhood asthma are worsened by the child becoming a smoker are unknown, though most believe that the numbers would be similar to those of the second-hand smoke category.
Bronchitis and pneumonia are also common side effects of being exposed to second-hand smoke, with the numbers being roughly in the 300,000 range. Children are also at risk of developing an ear infection. Inhaled smoke causes damage to the Eustachian tube, which causes that part of the ear to swell and, eventually, become infected.