The effects of second hand smoke on the lungs may be just as serious as those affecting a person who smokes. People who are exposed to second hand smoke typically have an increased risk of lung cancer and various lung-related illnesses, such as asthma, bronchitis, and even tuberculosis. Many studies also show that while the effects of second hand smoke on the lungs are harmful to everyone, they may be especially dangerous for babies and small children. In most cases, children who live in the same home with smokers are much more likely to have frequent ear infections and illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Pregnant women should also be particularly mindful of the effects of second hand smoke on the lungs. When exposed to second hand smoke, both a pregnant woman and her unborn child are at risk. Babies born to women who live in the same home with smokers may be more likely to have a small birth weight or arrive prematurely. Another possible concern for newborn babies is SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Infants who live in homes with smokers tend to be at greater risk for SIDS than babies who live in non-smoking homes.
In addition to the effects of second hand smoke on the lungs, a person who is exposed to second hand smoke might also have cardiovascular problems. Smoke exposure tends to constrict the arteries because the amount of oxygen to the blood becomes limited. When this happens regularly, chances of a heart attack or heart disease are usually much greater. Second hand smoke exposure could also cause the blood pressure to rise and the arteries to become clogged, which may also increase the chances of further heart problems.
The best way for a person to combat the effects of second hand smoke on the lungs and other parts of the body may be for him to ban smoking from his home with no exceptions. Smoking should also not be allowed in the car or work space. If a person has visitors to his home who smoke, she should probably ask them to smoke outside. It might also be a good idea for people who want to avoid second hand smoke to only visit stores and restaurants with strict no-smoking rules. A person who works for a company that allows smoking may be able to put a stop to it by talking to the person in charge and requesting that smoking be banned from the workplace.