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Study reinforces that secondhand smoke while riding in a vehicle is damaging to health

Secondhand smoke
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(NaturalNews) Sadly, we've all likely seen it: a person smoking in a parked vehicle, windows cracked only slightly, while their cigarette smoke swirls around the faces of passengers, some of whom may even be infants. While there are those who maintain that cigarette smoke primarily harms only the person choosing to engage in the habit and that secondhand smoke shouldn't be cause for concern, a new study challenges that thought process and shows otherwise.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, studied 14 non-smokers who sat in the back seat of a non-moving vehicle while the person in the driver's seat smoked three cigarettes over the course of one hour. While smoking, both the rear and front windows were opened approximately four inches. Then, after waiting eight hours, post-experiment urine samples were studied against samples taken prior to the experiment. It was found that seven biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer had a significant increase after exposure to secondhand smoke.(1)

Toxic chemicals found in system of nonsmokers who experienced secondhand smoke

Increased levels of butadiene, methylating agents, benzene, acrylonitrile and ethylene oxide were found in the nonsmokers, a toxic cocktail of chemicals which senior investigator and UCSF professor of medicine and bioengineering, Neal L. Benowitz, says is "thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease." He explains that the finding demonstrates that merely sitting in cars with those who smoke exposes nonsmokers to a range of harmful compounds which are linked to health problems such as cancer and lung disease.(1)

Lead author Gideon St. Helen, PhD, of the UCSF Department of Medicine says that "this tells us that people, especially children and adults with preexisting health conditions such as asthma or a history of heart disease should be protected from secondhand smoke exposure in cars."

No such thing as "safe level" of secondhand smoke exposure

According to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, hundreds of compounds in secondhand cigarette smoke have been identified as harmful, containing dangerous chemicals such as carbon monoxide and ammonia. They note that there "is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke" and that not only does it cause lung cancer in nonsmokers, but it can lead to sudden infant death syndrome and asthma attacks in children.(2)

The Mayo Clinic even suggests that thirdhand smoke, in which tobacco smoke compounds linger on clothing, furniture and hair, may come with health risks. While it may sound obvious, those wishing to avoid second and thirdhand smoke should avoid smokers and their environments.(3)

Choosing smoke-free facilities such as in restaurants and ensuring that strict smoking policies are in place at work can create healthier environments, as can making it clear that you do not permit smoking in or around the home or car.


(1) http://www.ucsf.edu

(2) http://www.cancer.gov

(3) http://www.mayoclinic.org

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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