There are 2 types of tobacco smoke:
• Mainstream smoke, which is directly inhaled through the mouth end of the cigarette
• Sidestream smoke, which comes from the burning tip of the cigarette
Second-hand smoke is made up of sidestream smoke and exhaled mainstream smoke, mixed with the surrounding air.
Sidestream smoke is about 4 times more toxic than mainstream smoke, although people inhale it in a more diluted form. This is because sidestream smoke contains much higher levels of many of the poisons and cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes, including: nicotine, benzole, cyanide, formaldehyde and other substances.
The smoke and its harmful substances exposed by an active smoker, stays for four hours in the air, clings to hair, cloths, stays as well as on cushions, carpets and other things. Sometimes it is referred as a thirdhand smoke and is very harmful especially for children.
It is difficult to determine the exact risk for passive smoker, since the active smoker's exhaled smoke is a dynamic mixture that interacts with the existing environment. Nevertheless, every doctor or scientist agrees that the secondhand smoke is not safe based on its inherent toxicity.
Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke have an increased risk of lung cancer. Non-smokers who live with a smoker are 20-30% more likely to develop lung cancer. Passive smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 25-40% - almost the same level as a smoker.
For active smoker, the risk of health damage becomes higher with the higher intensity and duration of smoking. Even a short period of consumption can cause asthma or heart disease.
Unfortunately air purifiers can’t protect non-smokers from exhausted toxic substances. The only way to reduce the risk is to reduce and eliminate tobacco consumption.
The decision to quit smoking isn’t easy but it’s really important not only for you also for the people around you.