Yes, Passive Smoking is Harmful!
When I was at high school there was an anti-smoking poster in the corridor saying that smoking has more than 5000 negative effects on health. Poster with a skull full of smoke instead of a brain scared me, and not only because of this did I decide to never smoke. Additionally, my class teacher said that passive smoking is actually more harmful than the active one, which made me stay far from those who smoke. However, then, I realized that something was wrong with this idea. Not only a smoker inhales the “active” smoke while smoking but also he/she has no opportunity to avoid the “passive” smoke around him, the smoke that a passive smoker breathes in. I have heard such statements many times, and all of them differed. Some people say that passive smoking is more harmful than active smoking; some say both have almost equal effects, while others say that passive smoking has a negligible effect on health condition. The most interesting fact is that almost all of them use scientific sources to prove their positions. My research suggests that passive smoking is harmful and it might cause the following: mortality, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and coronary heart disease (CHD). According to the Oxford dictionary of English language, passive smoking is “the involuntary inhaling of smoke from other people's cigarettes, cigars, or pipes” (Soanes and Stevenson, 2005). The definition given in the dictionary of public health is more precise. It reads that passive (involuntary) smoking is an “exposure to the tobacco smoke of other people. Environmental tobacco smoke consists mainly of side stream smoke containing harmful ingredients, carcinogens, irritants, and toxic substances, and lesser amounts of exhaled smoke” (John, 2007). Even if this definition does not give us exact degree of harm of passive smoking, it clearly has negative effects on health condition and might be the cause of dangerous diseases which may lead to death. According to James E. Enstrom, and Geoffrey C. Kabat, coronary heart disease, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases have nothing to do with second-hand smoking. In this research Dr.Enstrom and his colleagues used a sample having originally 118,094 adults from California, USA, however, researchers focused on 35,561 non-smokers who had a constantly smoking spouse (2003). The research started in 1959 and lasted 39 years. The first step in studying effects of passive smoking on health was a survey, which included questions on race, educational level, physical exercises, body mass index, urbanization, fruit or fruit juice intake, health status, age and number of cigarettes consumed daily by a spouse (Enstron and Kabat, 2003). This research came to a conclusion that passive smoking has little effect on health. One should not approve this “scientific” method of surveying people by questioning, because people may lie, or somebody can make them lie. For instance, Michael Moore and Carolyn Zhu claimed that “[I]ndividuals systematically overestimate the effects of passive smoking on their health” (2000), which makes the method of surveying not the best. In other words people may not tell the real truth how much of tobacco smoke they are exposed to,in fact they may overvalue it. As a result a conclusion of the whole study might be wrong and might direct other research and studies in this field in the wrong direction. The second problem of the research conducted in California is that the sample was only from California, and one cannot make conclusion for the whole population. California is basically known as a healthy state, where there are fewer poor people and more environmental awareness. In addition to this argument, Michael Moore claimed that “passive smoking is associated with assessments of significantly poorer health. Poorer health assessments are associated with significantly greater medical resource use”(Moore and Zhu, 2000). In...
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