Being a non smoker does mean that you are free from the ill-effects of smoke. Nobody can escape passive smoke or second hand smoke. What’s more, it is as bad as direct smoke!

Passive smoking is the act of breathing in second hand smoke. Tobacco smoke contains over 400 chemicals, and over 60 are known or suspected to be carcinogenic or cancer-causing. According to Cancer Research in the UK, passive smokers are 20 to 30 per cent more likely to develop lung cancer than people not exposed to smoke.

The risks of passive smoking could be twice as bad as previously feared, the British Medical Journal says. Listed below are some of the major risks associated with second hand smoke:

1. Heart attack: Chemicals in tobacco smoke, if exposed continuously can damage blood vessels and increase the risk for both heart disease and heart attacks. Regular exposure to second hand smoke is also found increasing the risk of developing heart disease by more than 25 percent

2. Lung cancer: An estimated 3,400 non smokers die of lung cancer each year because of environmental tobacco smoke. Passive smoke increases a person’s risk of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent, studies show

3. Risk to babies: Research shows that second hand smoke increases a baby’s risk of dying of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Exposure to passive smoke during pregnancy also raises chances several deformities to the newborns

4. Asthma: Second hand smoke exposure can trigger asthma in people having the allergic disease. Second hand smoke is also found to cause asthma symptoms in children who previously had no asthmatic problems.

5. Bronchitis and pneumonia: Passive smoke can lead to lower respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and pneumonia in kids

6. Ear infections: Certain chemicals coming out of burned tobacco can cause fluid build-up in children’s ears. This can gradually lead to middle ear infections and temporary deafness