Smoking kills one million people in India every year. However, the harmful effects of passive smoking is not commonly accepted or known to many. In fact, there are several myths surrounding secondhand smoke (SHS) that need to be debunked.

When you are taking a drag in a room, your family is not safe from its adverse effect. Being aware of the damages caused by SHS can help you make changes in your smoking behavior. However, believing that opening a window or switching ‘on’ an additional fan to let the smoke pass, will keep your children safe is juvenile thinking. Smoking indoors, even without people in the room, and with the windows or exhaust fan open is not a sure shot way to keep your family safe. You will still end up exposing them to third hand smoke from nicotine deposits on your carpet, bed, furniture et al.  Surprised? Well, go through these five myths about passive smoking and enlighten yourself.

secondhand smoking

Myth 1: Smoking Will Harm Only Me, Not Anyone Around

Many smokers believe that puffing away will harm no one but them. However, waiters working in a smoke-filled bar breathe in a lot of noxious air. This is as harmful as smoking a pack of cigarettes. Those who are around run the risk of absorbing carcinogens and other poisonous agents found in tobacco smoke. It’s unfortunate that there are chain smokers who refuse to accept this fact. Several studies have proved that passive smokers vulnerable to secondhand smoke run the risk of developing lung cancer and heart ailments.

Myth 2: Smoking in a Different Room is Fine

Do you think that smoking in another room where no one is present will keep your family and children safe? If so, you are gravely mistaken. No matter whether you are taking drags in a different room, second-hand and third hand smoke will pass through openings, door and window cracks to the next room or to the rest of your house.

Myth 3: Air Purifiers in a Room Protect Passive Smokers

Many believe that using fragrant air purifiers will alleviate the effects of secondhand smoke. To be candid, these air filters fail to reduce the harmful impact of passive smoking. They may only be able to get rid of the tobacco odor or lighten the smell. There are several finer particles and gases found in SHS. Air purifiers or filters can help in reducing the number of particles but not the harmful gases. This means that the cancer-causing elements will float in the air for others to inhale.

Myth 4: A Baby in a Mother’s Womb is Safe from Secondhand Smoke

This is the most dangerous of all the myths. Your pregnant wife might not be smoking herself but if you are smoking in her presence, the toxic chemicals absorbed by her can be detrimental to your unborn baby’s health. It can have an adverse impact on the development of a baby’s organs including digestive system, nervous system, lungs and heart. It may also affect an infant’s growth. A baby vulnerable to secondhand smoke may also weigh abnormally less.

Myth 5: Smoking is Harmless in a Ventilated Room

Many tobacco users believe that smoking is absolutely safe when done in a ventilated room or a moving vehicle with open windows. However, studies show that ventilation does not necessarily keep passive smokers safe from the toxic smoke. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, adequate ventilation may help reduce the irritation caused by smoking, but can’t get rid of all the poisonous elements emitted into the air by a smoker. Even if you open the doors and windows of a room, toxic air will circulate back into the room, leaving non-smokers vulnerable.

The myths about passive smoking can prove dangerous to non-smokers. Be aware of what the real truth is with respect to second hand and third hand smoke, and keep your family safe. Live and let others live, too.